Ashley Fletcher hailed as Sunderland manager reveals lengths loanee went to in bid to improve

Lynden Gooch (right) joins Ashley Fletcher to celebrate the on-loan striker's goal in last night's 4-1 win at Derby. Picture by Frank Reid
Lynden Gooch (right) joins Ashley Fletcher to celebrate the on-loan striker's goal in last night's 4-1 win at Derby. Picture by Frank Reid

Boss Chris Coleman has praised Ashley Fletcher after he finally opened his Sunderland account – and revealed he has been putting in extra training sessions to turn around his form.

The Middlesbrough loanee had gone eight games without a goal since arriving in January but capped off his best performance with a superb finish in last night’s 4-1 win at Derby County, firing low past keeper Scott Carson.

Fletcher could have had a hat-trick but saw one effort hit the post and another dribble wide from a great position.

Coleman, though, was full of praise for the striker.

“We could play off Fletch and it was his best game for us since he arrived,” said Coleman.

“He has been struggling to find form and confidence.

“He was much more reliable and he could have had a hat-trick.

“It was a good performance from him – I was delighted for him. I was always going to start with Fletcher.”

Coleman revealed the lengths the striker has gone to to transform his fortunes.

He added: “I was pleased for him. He hasn’t ducked it.

“He has been struggling for form but hasn’t ducked it.

“He has been out doing extra training and I really like that. He is only 22, a young boy.

“He doesn’t have a lot of experience, only really one full season with Barnsley.

“He has a super attitude.

“If you are playing as a striker for Sunderland and you’re struggling and his performances haven’t been great, you are going to come under scrutiny and pressure, which he has.

“It is a great response from him.

“I am really delighted for him to score and for our supporters.

“They are demanding, but, if you please them, they are a great bunch to play for.”