Striker Fletcher tipped to shine on loan for Sunderland

Ashley Fletcher. Picture by Frank Reid
Ashley Fletcher. Picture by Frank Reid

Ashley Fletcher has been backed to hit the goal trail for Sunderland by former Manchester United team-mate Donald Love.

The pair came through the United academy together and played in the same Under-18 and Under-23 sides. Fletcher, who also knows Paddy McNair and John O’Shea, joined on loan on deadline day from neighbours Middlesbrough.

Love is excited to be reunited with Fletcher and believes he will prove to be a shrewd signing in the battle for Championship survival.

The 22-year-old striker impressed on his first start in last week’s 2-0 defeat to Ipswich Town, though he did fade in the second half. Fellow deadline day signings Lee Camp and Ovie Ejaria also made their debuts.

“You could see the quality, the new signings,” said Love, ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Bristol City (KO 3pm).

“I know Fletcher from Manchester United and he will be a good addition up front. Josh [Maja] and Joel [Asoro] are good players, but he will add some presence, along with Kazenga [LuaLua].

“He is a year younger than me – we were in the same youth team and the reserves.

“I didn’t speak to him before he signed on loan because it was last-minute. I spoke to him on his first day in training and he is buzzing to be here, to be playing.

“He is a good striker and, for a big man, is good with his feet and brings people into play and that is what we need – someone who can hold it up.

“He is a good finisher too and will get some goals for us during his time here.

“Fletcher hasn’t played a lot for Middlesbrough so hopefully the Ipswich game will have helped boost the fitness of the new players.”