Phil Parkinson picked up his first league win in charge of Sunderland, as they thrashed Tranmere Rovers 5-0 at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday evening.
The win means that the Black Cats moved up to seventh in the League One table, and they’ll be hoping to build on this impressive showing heading into their game against Shrewsbury Town on Saturday.
There is no doubt the talent in the Sunderland squad and so far the Black Cats have underachieved so far this term.
There will be expectation on Parkinson to take Sunderland back to the Championship this season, especially after they were beaten by Charlton Athletic in the League One play-off final in last year’s campaign.
Here we take a look at three players in this talented side who could be rejuvenated under Parkinson.
Parkinson has dismissed claims that he will bring a “long-ball” style of play to the Stadium of Light and instead will opt for a passing game.
Will Grigg arrived at Sunderland in February 2019 from Wigan Athletic for £4M and netted four times towards the end of last season.
So far this term however, the Northern Irish international has failed to find the net this term, which will be worrying for Black Cats fans given the striker’s price tag.
Parkinson, tends to get the best out of strikers and has the ability to make them into the team’s main man, such as Gary Madine at Bolton Wanderers and James Hanson at Bradford City.
If Parkinson helps Grigg rediscover his confidence then he will surely find his scoring boots again.
Duncan Watmore burst onto the scene in 2014 for Sunderland whilst the Black Cats were playing in the Premier League.
A cruciate knee ligament injury would see Watmore ruled out for the 2016-2017 season and since then the former Altrincham man has struggled with his fitness.
He suffered a second ligament injury in November 2017 but has overcome both serious injuries.
Despite this he has suffered minor injuries that has prevented playing more than three consecutive games for the Black Cats.
Jack Ross was hoping to bring Watmore back into the fold before his sacking and it appears Phil Parkinson was thinking the same thing.
Watmore played the first 65 minutes of the Wycombe game and was on the scoresheet against Tranmere in their recent 5-0 win at the Stadium of Light.
If Watmore manages to stay fit and Parkinson puts his faith in him, then he could be on for a very successful season in League One.
Another player signed last summer, Alim Ozturk became Jack Ross’ first signing when he left Turkish side Boluspor at the end of the 2017-2018 season.
He made ten league appearances for the Black Cats last term and has so far made seven league starts for the Wearside club.
Having represented Hearts 62 times and capped by Turkey Under-21s there is no doubting Ozturk’s potential.
Sunderland haven’t really managed to consistently find a centre-back pairing this term and this lack of consistency may be one of the reasons why the Black Cats have only kept one clean sheet this term.
If Parkinson can sure up the defence and find the right pairing between Ozturk and the clubs other centre-backs then the Black Cats may find themselves more difficult to beat and ultimately propel themselves up the table.