Phil Parkinson enjoyed a perfect start to life at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday, as his side beat Tranmere Rovers 5-0.
In Parkinson’s opening game, Sunderland lost 1-0 at Wycombe Wanderers, however you have to take into consideration that he had been Sunderland manager for just two days, and Adams Park is one of the most difficult grounds to get success at in League One.
The Wearsiders looked brilliant on Tuesday night, playing with real energy and quality, they looked a side capable of breaking into the top six.
Goals from Duncan Watmore, Chris Maguire, Lynden Gooch, Will Grigg and Luke O’Nien gave Sunderland a massive win, that will boost confidence heading into a big game at Shrewsbury Town on Saturday.
Manager Parkinson will want to make minimal changes, so lets have a look at where he might tweak things…
McGeady to replace Gooch
Winger Lynden Gooch has been ruled out of Saturday’s match after suffering a foot injury in the second half of Tuesday’s match. Aiden McGeady returns from suspension, so will likely slot in the left side of midfield, vacated by Gooch.
The Irishman has made a good start to the season, scoring three times and assisting twice. He will be looking to impress Parkinson and nail down a spot in the first-team on a regular basis.
McGeady has undoubted talent and could arguably be playing at a higher level than League One and it’s important that Parkinson gets the best out of him and Will Grigg, as that could be the difference between automatic promotion or the play-offs.
Give Duncan Watmore a rest
Although Watmore produced a man-of-the-match display and capped his performance off with a great finish against Tranmere Rovers, it’s worth remembering he suffered two major knee injuries and is an important player for Sunderland.
The trip to Shrewsbury will be Sunderland’s third game within seven days, with Watmore already starting the first two. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to the see Parkinson resting the winger to prevent another injury which would impact his development.
Chris Maguire can play out wide for the Black Cats, and already has five league goals to his name, and the Sunderland boss could be tempted to move him to a wide area in place of Watmore.