Young duo backed to help fill the Lewis Grabban void at Sunderland

Joel Asoro in action for Sunderland at Victoria Park.
Joel Asoro in action for Sunderland at Victoria Park.

Ethan Robson admits losing Lewis Grabban was a blow to the Sunderland squad but has backed youngsters Josh Maja and Joel Asoro to fill the void.

Maja started up front against Middlesbrough last weekend as Robson made his full debut for the Black Cats.

Chris Coleman has targeted two strikers in the January window after Grabban decided to cut short his loan, with the 29-year-old expected to join a Championship rival in the near future. Wolves and Saturday’s opponents Cardiff City have been credited with an interest.

Maja and Asoro continue to get minutes under their belt and Robson is confident they can take the opportunity.

He said: “It’s not an easy time behind the scenes with results and Grabbs leaving – he’s been on fire scoring loads of goals. But I believe, if we all stick together, we’ve got other strikers who can score goals as well.

“I’ve been with them for a few years now and you can see in training day in, day out they’ve definitely got what it takes.”

Robson admits seeing Coleman give opportunities to the pair has been a big boost to the youngsters at the club and has no doubts that they can make an impact.

He said: “Joel and Maj have done great when they’ve been playing and it gives the young players a bit of hope seeing them do well. We like to all play well as a team and the younger players feel good when the likes of Joel and Maj play well – it gives us a bit of a lift.

“We are the future of the club, really. I feel we need to show the fans what we’ve got. It’s a bit of a tough situation at the minute but I think if we all stick together we can get out of it.”