New Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson says he dropped goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin for his side’s 1-0 defeat at Wycombe on Saturday, because he is concerned about the Scot’s recent form.
In what was Parkinson’s first game as Black Cats boss, it was summer signing Lee Burge who was handed his first league start for the club, meaning McLaughlin dropped to the bench for the first time in the league this season.
Despite the change, Darius Charles’ header was enough to secure all three points for Wycombe, leaving Sunderland tenth in League One after 12 league games of the season.
Who should start in goal for Sunderland against Tranmere?
Reflecting on Burge’s performance at Adams Park and the decision to drop McLaughlin, it seems Parkinson was satisfied with the call he made, although there appears to be no guarantee that Burge is now the club’s number one, with the Sunderland manager telling The Northern Echo: “I thought Lee did very well. I looked at the games prior to coming in and Lee had done very well while Jon had dipped below what he is capable of.
“We’ve got good competition in that position, but to say Lee is number one at this stage is too early.”
Discussing McLaughlin’s response to losing his place in the side, Parkinson looks to have been impressed by the 32-year-old, as he added: “When you get left out it’s about conducting yourself in the right way and Jon certainly did that, so credit to him.”
Following that defeat at Wycombe, Sunderland face a quick turnaround to their next league action, with the Black Cats set to host Tranmere Rovers at The Stadium of Light on Tuesday night.
This looks to be quite a statement of intent from Parkinson.
The fact that he was willing to drop players before he has even had a look at them close up, appears to show just how serious about getting results for this side, even if it didn’t quite work on Saturday.
Indeed, with Parkinson seemingly aware of just what changes he was going to make, you have to imagine he was planning to take this role sometime before his appointment was confirmed on Thursday.
While the Sunderland boss has said that there is no guarantee Burge is now the club’s number one, it will be interesting to see who starts between the posts against Tranmere, which could be an indicator of who Parkinson wants to give the chance to really prove themselves to.