Following an extremely difficult start to the new campaign following their relegation from the Premier League, Sunderland picked up a promising point at high-flying Preston North End before the international break, and manager Simon Grayson will hope that his side can build on this result with a performance against QPR on Saturday.
Goals from George Honeyman and Aiden McGeady ensured the points were shared at Deepdale, in what was Grayson’s first encounter with his former side following his departure for the Stadium of Light this summer.
Victory at home against Ian Holloway’s men on Saturday is essential, and Sunderland must begin to consistently pick up points if they are to climb away from the Championship drop zone.
With that in mind, Grayson will consider making changes to his squad, and one man who should be dropped to the bench is attacking midfielder Lynden Gooch.
The young American has a goal and two assists in just two starts for the Black Cats, but the return of Duncan Watmore from a long-term knee injury sustained just before Christmas last year.
His absence hit the squad hard, contributing to their demise in the top flight, but his ultimate return will be a huge boost ahead of what looks to be a difficult season for Grayson’s men.
Watmore is a dangerous player with an eye for goal, and having proven himself in the Premier League, should adjust to life in the Championship with relative ease.
Fans will hope his knee troubles are behind him and he has the strength and touch to succeed in a more physical league, and Watmore could seriously make all the difference on Saturday.
An appearance from the bench against Preston and two weeks recovery time during the international break should have the player raring to go, and I would not bet against him finding the net in Saturday’s match-up.
Sunderland fans, would you like to see Watmore back in the starting XI on Saturday? Have your say below…