Adnan Januzaj gave watching boss David Moyes a gentle nudge ahead of Saturday’s vital Premier League clash with Leicester City with a goal in the Under-23s’ 2-2 draw with Tottenham at Hetton last night.
The attacker finished superbly six minutes before the break for Andy Welsh’s in-form side in last night’s PL2 match.
Januzaj was given the first 54 minutes as Sunderland, watched by the club’s new chief football officer Simon Wilson, were chasing five wins on the spin.
Welsh’s side have strung together some good form across four competitions and it looked like continuing after leading 2-0, only for struggling Spurs to level with goals just before and after the break.
Sunderland took an 11th-minute lead through George Honeyman. Josh Robson, Lynden Gooch and Honeyman combined nicely and after Josh Maja won the header in the middle, Honeyman lashed the ball home.
Spurs saw plenty of the ball, but goal threats were rare though Mika saved well with his feet from Shilow Tracey.
The loss of Lynden Gooch, stretchered off after falling awkwardly on his left ankle, interrupted play but it did not affect the home side.
Sunderland doubled their lead in the 39th minute thanks to the red-hot pace and cool head of Januzaj.
The on-loan midfielder got on the end of Maja’s clearance, galloping 50 yards into the box and keeping two pursuers at bay before slotting a neat left-foot finish past Lopez.
Spurs pulled back a goal in stoppage time with Tracey beating Mika from the left side of the box.
And they were level nine minutes after the re-start, Tracey blasting home in the area.
Spurs had the better of play though the Cats had a chance on the hour when Maja headed straight at Lopez while Ethan Robson fired just wide from the edge of the box.
But a draw ended up being a fair result.
Sunderland: Mika, J Robson, Ledger, Brady, T Robson, Honeyman, Love, E Robson, Januzaj (Asoro 54), Maja (Molyneux 90), Gooch (Embleton 27),
Unused Subs Stryjek, Casey. Goal: Honeyman 11, Januzaj 39. Booked: Ledger 82, Love 90
Spurs: Lopez, Walker-Peters, Ogilvie, Amos (Brown 90), Walkes, Owen, Tracey, Stylianides, Harrison, Goddard (Muscatt 80), Pritchard
Unused Subs: Glover, Omolabi, Lock
Goals: Tracey 45, 54
Ref: M Coy Att: 381