Sunderland beat League Two Carlisle 3-1 in a behind closed doors friendly at the SOL this afternoon, thanks to a brace from Charlie Wyke and a goal from Chris Maguire. Phil Parkinson had this to say afterwards: "It's always good for strikers to get goals in pre-season. Will Grigg did it on Saturday [coming on as a substitute and scoring twice at against Gateshead] and Charlie did it today. I was a bit disappointed with Charlie at the weekend and he was in himself he was a bit static, but today when he came on, it wasn't just his goals but his all-round game. That's how Charlie Wyke can play. His hold-up play was great, his link-up play was good, and he got his two goals, so I was very pleased with him today.”
New keeper Remi Matthews made an error that led to Carlisle taking the lead, but the gaffer stuck up for him. Parkinson said: "The thing with Remi is that he has only trained with us for one day and we were wondering whether to play him or not. We felt that we almost have to fast-track him up to speed, we didn't want to start Lee Burge today because he will probably start on Saturday. He did alright apart from the goal, which alright he should have saved, but as a keeper you have to react to that and he made a good save just a few minutes later. He'll be better for that 60 minutes today.”
He continued: “It had the feeling of an all-out league game - the conditions slickened the surface up and made it a quick game with some tackles flying in. In the first half we had to earn the right to play, in patches we did well, our energy levels were good, but we couldn't get the goal. Then in the second half I thought we started a bit sloppy, we gave the ball away too cheaply, gave a few free-kicks away. Sometimes when the lads are going out for that extra 15 minutes, their mindset is not quite right and we just lost our way a bit, but credit to the lads who came on - I thought they really raised the bar."
Parkinson is still looking for two or three new faces, however, centre half Arbenit Xhemajli has returned to Switzerland after playing in Saturday's friendly win at Gateshead. Parkinson explained: "He's gone back. The agreement with him was always just for him to stay until last weekend. We'll have a chat this evening about how we are going to progress that. He's a good player but there are other players out there also in that position, and we just want to make sure we make the right call. Danny Graham is a quality striker. He holds the ball up, he gets goals, and he is someone we are interested in. Within the financial constraints we are working, we have to make sure we get the best players we can. Danny is a player who has done it at this level and above. He is one of a few players we are looking at. The squad is decent but it is not there yet, however bit by bit we are piecing it together."
The gaffer also had a kind word for midfielder Jack Diamond. "Jack had a great season with Harrogate and they think a lot of him - they have rung me to take him back but there's no way Jack is going anywhere, because he is getting better all the time. We played him on the left today, he has played there for Harrogate, but as a wingback it is slightly different and he is still learning the role. But he is an outlet, he has got pace, he is direct, and he can go past people both ways. There's work for Jack to do because it is a step up for him, but I don't see any reason why he can't bridge that gap from where he was last year to where we need him to be this year."
Sunderland 1-60: Matthews, McLaughlin, Flanagan, Willis, Feeney, Power, Diamond, Scowen, Grigg, O’Brien, Gooch
Sunderland 61-90: Patterson, Hume, Wyke, Dobson, Maguire, Leadbitter, O’Nien, Wright, Taylor, Neil, Flanagan
Subs not used: Hackett