The bonus when appointing Sam Allardyce is a virtual guarantee of safety – but even he will admit he has taken on his biggest task yet and to stay up he may well require some of his most reliable lieutenants, and that is why he needs Kevin Nolan.
Sunderland’s latest defeat came at the hands of Southampton, they defended stoutly and even the thus far shambolic Sebastian Coates and Younes Kaboul looked relatively solid, despite one-way traffic at the Stadium of Light.
Allardyce’s direct style is neither here nor there for Sunderland’s faithful, it is clear the players are being drilled – but it is also clear that something is not clicking going forward.
Steven Fletcher is the focal point, but he is getting so little support. Whilst the drilling of the support cast will continue, Allardyce is surely thinking that there is a clear solution to some of his woes – namely Nolan.
Nolan would not be the future of Sunderland, and neither in all truth is Allardyce, but the task is to secure Premier League football and for that, needs must.
When he first arrived at the club, Allardyce opted against bringing in Nolan and other members of his former staff such as Carlton Cole and Ricardo Vaz Te – but now he will be thinking again.
Despite his Newcastle links, Sunderland fans would surely see the sense in bringing in Nolan. He would connect the forwards and midfield, be the leading light of the Allardyce gospel and make his mantra so much easier to digest in the short-term.
Allardyce’s way will be a shock to many of the squad, such as Adam Johnson, Jermain Defoe and Jeremain Lens, so to have somebody of the experience of Nolan, who could ease the transition for the squad, makes all the sense in the world.
The chances of Nolan turning up on Wearside are surely shortening by the day and the chances are he and Allardyce will be bringing in the New Year together at the Stadium of Light.