safc.com’s Oscar Chamberlain runs the rule over Sunderland’s pre-season win at Grimsby Town.
The Lads showed their attacking mettle and a new signing caught the eye, plus much more...
UP AND RUNNING
Jack Ross is a winner and he craves the mentality it fosters, so a first win at the helm no doubt pleased the Sunderland boss. Although no points were on offer, the Lads’ post-match smiles told you winning matters regardless of the reward. It was without a doubt the strongest performance we’ve seen this pre-season, with a young defence handling a physical Grimsby forward line commendably. But the best play came in the final third, with the Black Cats carrying a clear threat throughout.
The Lads have been linked with a plethora of strikers in recent weeks, and whoever arrives on Wearside will be a lucky man. After a standout performance on Satuday, Callum McManaman picked up where he left off, testing his man and producing an endless supply of crosses as the Mariners failed to shackle the lively winger. While he was less direct, Chris Maguire also showed his quality from the wide areas with a pinpoint assist for Gooch.One thing’s for sure, the strikers will have plenty of service this season.
ON THE BALL
Dylan McGeouch is still getting up to speed after joining the squad during their pre-season trip to Portugal, but he’s starting to show why so many clubs were interested in his services. The Scotland international grew into the game at Blundell Park, and while he goes about his business in a subtle way, his influence on the ball is undeniable. A good range of passing coupled with excellent vision turned defence into attack on numerous occasions, and there looks to be a lot more to come from the midfielder.
THE ENGINE ROOM
Last season, former manager Chris Coleman labelled George Honeyman a ‘Duracell battery’ due to his relentless work-rate, and the midfielder ran the engine room at Blundell Park. From back to front, Honeyman chased every single ball and put in a performance which demonstrated exactly why Jack Ross handed him the armband for a second consecutive game. His efforts allowed McGeouch the time and space to dictate the play, as the duo complimented each other nicely. Partnerships are starting to form across the park, and this is certainly one to watch.