The local media has largely praised Joe Gelhardt after his performance for Sunderland in their 1-1 draw with Huddersfield on Tuesday night – with some picking out the Leeds United loanee as the standout performer for the Black Cats.
Tony Mowbray’s side’s hopes of making the play-offs were dealt a blow. Sunderland now sit eighth in the Championship. And the two sides above them have at least one game in hand over them.
But Joe Gelhardt has handed himself a confidence boost ahead of the final stages of the campaign.
Gelhardt praised after Sunderland draw
It is fair to say that it has not been the easiest loan spell for the 20-year-old since his arrival in January. He went into the clash with Neil Warnock’s men having only scored twice.
But he added to that tally 10 minutes before half-time, firing a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. It was a superb strike from the youngster. And it would have given Sunderland fans hope that they were about to secure a massive win in their play-off push.
Unfortunately, the visitors would equalise after the break. And it would appear that Gelhardt would have less of an influence on the game as it went on.
Nevertheless, he has received plenty of plaudits.
The Roker Report, the Chronicle and The Northern Echo have all handed Gelhardt a 7/10 rating, with the latter picking out the forward as their player of the match.
“A really good first half display by Gelhardt, took his goal very well but looked more confident all round, with a nice back heel to set up Pritchard. Worked hard all night but disappeared after the break. Tracked Koroma for the Huddersfield goal but couldn’t quite get close enough,” Roker Report wrote.
“Scored on his return to the starting XI and his all-round contribution was excellent,” was the Chronicle‘s take.
“Led the line energetically all night and opened the scoring with an excellent long-range finish,” The Northern Echo wrote.
It would be fantastic for Gelhardt to finish the campaign on a high. Leeds have a lot of depth in the final third right now. But it is very unclear just who will still be at Elland Road next year.
Gelhardt struggled for minutes in the first-half of the season. But if he realises his potential, he is a scary talent with a huge ceiling.
If Leeds can appoint a manager who can unlock that potential, he could be a devastating option to have. And hopefully, the loan spell at a massive club like Sunderland will only help him upon his return.