Kevin Phillips insists that it would be “very harsh” for Phil Parkinson to drop Sunderland striker Charlie Wyke after he scored again at the weekend.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the Stadium of Light legend said that he has heard a lot of people “moaning” about the 27-year-old’s selection despite his form in front of goal.

Wyke, who had a major hand in the goal that secured victory against Crewe Alexandra a week ago, scored in a 3-1 defeat to Portsmouth on Saturday, his fourth in all competitions this season.

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The Black Cats face 15th-placed Rochdale tomorrow night as Phil Parkinson’s side look to close the gap on the automatic promotion spots.

Phillips is adamant that Wyke should lead the attack at the Spotland Stadium.

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“Wyke is starting to score regularly but from the people I speak to there is still a lot of umming and ahing over what the best partnership is,” he told Football Insider.

“I hear a lot of people moaning, asking why Wyke is playing but at the end of the day it does not matter who is playing as long as they are scoring goals.

“Getting promotion is the ultimate goal this season. Phil Parkinson is not afraid to pick a team that he thinks can win a football match and if he thinks that includes Charlie Wyke then so be it.

“Last week it paid dividends when he got the winner and he scored again at the weekend.

“It would be very harsh to not continue starting Wyke when he is scoring goals.”

Speaking on Wyke last weekend, Parkinson said: “In the last two games we have got him back to where we want him to be.

“He’s put that right and he has got his rewards, but the onus is on him to keep going if he is selected.”

In other Sunderland news, Kevin Phillips claims the Black Cats have signed their own Virgil van Dijk.