GUS POYET is confident Sunderland have sufficient strength in depth for the rest of the season after opting to bring in quality, rather than quantity, during January.
Sunderland landed just one fresh face in the transfer window, with Jermain Defoe arriving in a straight swap for fellow frontman Jozy Altidore.
There was no attempt by the Black Cats to make any further acquisitions on Monday’s deadline day, with the low-key departure of Charis Mavrias on loan to Panathinaikos and the termination of Cabral’s Sunderland contract the extent of the club’s business.
But Poyet’s objective for the window was always to bring in a player or two who would make a marked difference, rather than a scattergun approach.
And the head coach says that if there are occasions when Sunderland are short on numbers for the bench – like tomorrow’s trip to Swansea – then that provides a pathway for homegrown players after midfielder Liam Agnew was handed his first-team debut at Fulham in the midweek FA Cup fourth round replay victory.
Poyet told the Echo: “I wanted quality and not quantity, and that’s what we ended up with.
“I think it was a good window for us.
“The group feels good, which is key – that’s massive.
“Mavrias is going to play football, which is good for him as well.
“There are certain moments, like maybe tomorrow, when there’s a player from the academy who’s going to have a chance.
“But that’s what we want, no?
“We cannot do it both ways.
“Now is the time for them to step up.
“Say we lose Connor (Wickham) for a couple of months, then we’ll bring Mika (Mandron) back.
“The same happens with the wingers. Duncan (Watmore) might be on the bench in three weeks’ time and then it’s up to him.”
Sunderland were always expecting a quiet deadline day, although that didn’t prevent the inevitable speculation over last-gasp signings.
But while Sunderland had a list of stand-by targets in case they received any tempting offers for members of the squad, Poyet says nothing even materialised as a possibility.
“We had a couple of options as cover, in case anyone came for one of our players,” he added. “But aside from that, no. We were not even talking to anyone.
“There is a certain moment on deadline day where you have to say that’s it.
“You cannot sell a player if you get an offer at 10pm because you cannot get anyone else in.
“So, let’s say that by 8pm or something, the day was done.”