When Dame N’Doye was unveiled as a Sunderland player in January, he spoke of his desire to make a quick impact at the club.
All of Sam Allardyce’s other outfield recruits in the transfer window have made a positive impression on the club’s tension-filled battle against the drop.
Watmore has a bright future ahead of him at Sunderland. N’Doye does not.Richard Mennear
Lamine Kone, Jan Kirchhoff and Wahbi Khazri have totted up enough column inches since the turn of the year to confirm Allardyce’s recent comments that the window was one of his best.
The same cannot be said for 31-year-old N’Doye.
On a wet, cold and windy April afternoon in Stoke, the on-loan striker did make an impression. Sadly, it was not the kind Allardyce nor the Sunderland fans had hoped for.
During his half-hour stint on the pitch, the Trabzonspor frontman conceded a series of silly free-kicks.
As well as frustrating his manager, all it achieved was to gift Stoke ground further up the pitch and the opportunity to whip in several free-kicks.
He was eventually booked. Poor in and out of possession, his was not a happy appearance from the subs bench at the Britannia Stadium.
This writer gave him a five in our match ratings, six being the average. It sparked some controversy on social media with several fans quick to question why he was rated so highly.
Perhaps on reflection a three or four would have been a truer reflection of his performance – two points for each boot correctly placed on the right foot.
Harsh, perhaps. But his performance didn’t warrant much more.
Allardyce opted to bring on N’Doye before Seb Larsson, who was kept on the bench until the 77th minute.
The Swede’s impact was far greater, with his set pieces causing the Stoke defence more problems than Wahbi Khazri’s had done prior to him being removed.
Experienced Larsson is calm on the ball and can pick a pass.
Khazri and Fabio Borini may have struggled to make an impact on the Stoke defence but they both offered more in workrate and defensive duties than N’Doye managed.
Jack Rodwell didn’t make it off the bench again, while Jeremain Lens was again not included.
Surely, both of those players would bring more to this side as substitutes than N’Doye has managed recently.
The Senegal international came on alongside Duncan Watmore, who added pace and energy and was unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty.
Watmore has a bright future ahead of him at Sunderland. N’Doye does not.
It was the second successive January that N’Doye had moved to the Premier League after he joined Hull City in a £3million deal 12 months ago.
Then, he netted five times in 15 games and Allardyce was hoping for a similar impact.
He has managed one goal but with starts few and far between, N’Doye has failed to produce a consistent level of performance coming off the bench.
In fairness too him, out of the four games he has started, he was played wide right on three occasions, with just one start in his natural striking role.
He has been unable to build any rhythm or consistency but his sub appearances have done little to show he deserves a starting berth.
And with Jermain Defoe scoring for fun, why would Allardyce tinker?
While Sunderland’s future as a top flight club remains in the balance, one thing is for sure, N’Doye won’t be back at the Stadium of Light next season.