GUS POYET says a derby hero could be waiting on the bench tomorrow.
Poyet’s substitutions in his opening game in charge at Swansea last weekend were largely redundant, with Jack Colback and Fabio Borini introduced when Sunderland were already 2-0 down and Jozy Altidore brought on after the hosts had added a fourth.
But the new head coach is eager to be proactive with his substitutions and realises the impact his replacements can make.
Poyet told the Echo: “We need to pick the best team tomorrow and then use the rest because nowadays in football you can be good for an hour, but then the three subs win you the game or lose you the game.
“Sometimes, the players don’t realise that.
“I didn’t have time to change at Swansea.
“I like to change and affect the game, it’s the way I am.
“But when I called the players to change, I didn’t have the chance to do it before they scored the second.
“I changed it anyway. When they scored the second Tauro (Mauricio Taricco, assistant manager) and Charlie (Oatway, first-team coach) said ‘are we going to do it anyway?’ and I said ‘yes’.
“We needed to be organised and have an extra option, especially because of the effort Johnno (Adam Johnson) and (Emanuele) Giaccherini made to defend.
“But we were already 2-0 down.”
Poyet is almost certain to make changes to his starting XI tomorrow, with Ki Sung-Yeung expected to be recalled after he was ineligible against parent club Swansea and Wes Brown in contention to make his first competitive appearance since January 2012.
But Phil Bardsley is not necessarily one who will be axed from the side.
Bardsley, controversially brought back from the cold under Poyet, endured a miserable return last Saturday after conceding an own goal and spurning a glorious opportunity when it was still goalless.
But Poyet has few regrets over recalling the full-back, who was ostracised by Paolo Di Canio and continues to split opinions on the terraces.
“We played him because we thought in that game, in the position he played, he was the best player available in terms of quantity of sessions, power and finding himself in a position to mark (Nathan) Dyer one v one,” said Poyet.
“If you ask me how many times Dyer went past Phil in the first half? Zero.
“He was doing that, but then you’re coming back, you’re excited, you’re loving it, you have made your first tackle, got your first yellow card, had your first chance and then you concede an own goal.
“I’m sure Phil thought about 100 things that could happen during the game, but never ever thought about conceding an own goal.
“If we lose one or 2-0 and the goals were like (Jonathan) De Guzman’s, then you take it.
“But to concede two own goals and a penalty in my first game in charge, with three in seven minutes, there is no way you can think about that.”