Jack Ross made five changes to the team against Accrington on Tuesday night and showed how important having a large squad is going to be in the final run in. Charlie Wyke, Denver Hume, Dylan McGeouch, Max Power and Lynden Gooch came into the team and were all part of a brilliant team performance in Lancashire.
In particular, McGeouch and Wyke impressed, although the case with McGeouch is an unusual one. He was brought in from Hibernian as potentially one of our key players but has only started 15 games this campaign. His performance was last night was superb, he looked accomplished on the ball, he chased after every ball and often won the ball back for the team. His ball to Gooch was brilliant and set him perfectly to run through on goal, it was just a shame that Gooch’s shot just hit the post. His all-around performance was thoroughly deserving of the man of the match award. As for Wyke, all that was missing was that all important goal. He may have wasted some good chances, but his effort was there for all to see. This did not go unnoticed by all the 1,600 Sunderland fans, he was the crowd favourite as they chanted his name throughout the game.
It was a big day for Kazaiah Sterling who scored his first ever goal in senior football, if Ross persists with a 4-4-2 formation then he may be a valuable asset from the bench. Getting his first goal will do his confidence the world of good and will no doubt be chomping at the bit to get back on the pitch and score again.
Denver Hume has been desperately unlucky with a knee injury this season and made his return to the first team at the end of last month. He came on in the EFL Cup final and played a part in McGeady’s second goal. He started for the first time on Tuesday since the 29th September in the 1-1 draw with Coventry and in the short time he’s played for Sunderland he looks a real prospect.
Due to the injury of Reece James and Bryan Oviedo being out of the picture, Hume has the chance to make the position his own. He had a great game last night, he was solid at the back and he looked a threat all night going forward. There were times when he raced up the field and beat a few players to get the ball up the field. What was most impressive was when he got the ball forward his end product was incredibly good, he showed the composure and could have had a few assists to his name on another day.
Credit has to go to Jack Ross for being brave enough to change the squad, while some were enforced changes it has given him a real selection headache. However, with so many games coming up in a short of space there may be a lot of rotation needed. Looking ahead to the Rochdale game, Ross has a decision to make, does he play McGeouch again from the start? Who would come back into the side? These questions will be running through Ross’ head…