Phil Bardsley

Bardsley makes playing return

by Stuart Vose

Full-back plays 45 minutes in friendly win.

Phil Bardsley returned to action as Sunderland’s development squad notched a friendly win against Middlesbrough at Rockliffe.

Bardsley, who sustained an injury in the early stages of pre-season, played 45 minutes as Kevin Ball’s men ran out 2-1 victors.

A strong Boro side went ahead early on through striker Scott McDonald only for Ryan Noble to equalise soon afterwards when he headed home from close range.

And Noble fired the winner with 15 minutes remaining to cap what Ball described as a useful exercise.

“Middlesbrough started the game with a lot of their first team squad players and gave us a heads-up beforehand to let us know, which was good of them,” he told

“We left the team as it was and the lads did smashing to stay in the game in the first half.

“We went 1-0 down with a not particularly great goal to concede, but we carried on creating chances and scored two goals ourselves.

“The result was never the most important thing; the game was arranged to give players minutes on the pitch and help those coming back from injury.”