Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray makes clear Hemir selection claim as Championship campaign nears

Hemir has made a good impression on Tony Mowbray during pre season

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Sunderland are working hard to add another striker to their squad before the Championship campaign begins against Ipswich Town next Sunday, but Tony Mowbray says he will have no concerns handing Hemir a start.

The Portuguese striker continued his impressive pre-season form on Saturday, scoring his third goal in the 1-1 draw with La Liga side Real Mallorca at the Stadium of Light.

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Mowbray has the option of pushing one of his attacking midfielders further forward as he was forced to do so often, but the 19-year-old appears to have settled well on Wearside and is stands looks a strong contender to make his competitive debut next weekend.

While eager not too much of a burden on a young striker starting out in an entirely new environment, Mowbray has seen enough to suggest that he could offer the physical outlet and hold-up play that his side lacked so often last year while Ross Stewart was injured and after Ellis Simms was surprisingly recalled by Everton in January.

"Of course he could start against Ipswich, yeah," Mowbray said.

"We're working hard to try and bring another in at the top end of the pitch, but Hemir gives us a platform. A lot of teams in the modern game do a lot of high pressing, like Mallorca did. Sometimes if you have that target you can miss them out, drop it on his chest - he slips someone away and it forces them not to press as much. We didn't have that for a long time last season. He can give us that outlet when teams are trying to get right on top of us, and it's a good outlet to have at the club."

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While the head coach believes his young striker is capable of making an immediate impact at second-tier level, he expects there to be a period of adaptation as learns to thrive in the more physical environment of senior football.

To that end, an at times challenging game against a strong Mallorca side should serve him well.

"That's what we've all been saying, there is something there," Mowbray said.

"He's not just a young boy that we're looking at, you know, couple of years and he'll be alright [for us]. He's got talent, he's got strength and he's got a lovely, soft first touch. He knows where the back of the net is, and his goal return already shows that.

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"We like Hemir he's just got to get used to English football, and the centre-halves are going to be like the ones he faced on Saturday - they're going to be rough and tough and they're not going to let him have his own way all the time. They're going to be like their guy on Saturday, they're going to try and come through him.

"But he's got a lovely awareness about him, and he's scored those striker goals from inside the six-yard box. He's not the finished article but we like him, a very talented young boy. We do still feel we need other option and we're working very hard behind the scenes on that. Then we can decide how we play it."