NEW SIGNINGS Oscar Ustari and Santiago Vergini will reap the rewards from making their Sunderland debuts in tomorrow’s FA Cup fourth round tie, insists Gus Poyet.
The Argentine pair were given an eye-opening introduction to their new employers after they were both unused substitutes for Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup semi-final shoot-out victory at Old Trafford.
Poyet has confirmed that the duo, whose moves to the Stadium of Light were finalised earlier this week, will start against non-league Kidderminster Harriers tomorrow, as the Sunderland boss introduces fresh legs for the third of five games inside a fortnight.
Ex-Almeria goalkeeper Ustari will end cup hero Vito Mannone’s run of 17 consecutive starts, while on-loan Estudiantes centre-half Vergini will break up the partnership of John O’Shea and Wes Brown, possibly alongside Valentin Roberge.
Poyet told the Echo: “They were at Old Trafford in case something happened.
“But they will make their debuts tomorrow.
“It’s a perfect opportunity for them.
“They can get used to the speed of the game, the stadium, the pitch.
“For the first time in my life, I even hope it rains a little bit.
“I want a proper English surface when the ball goes quick, rather than like Argentina where the grass is a foot high. It’s totally different over here.”
While Ustari has been earmarked as cover for first-choice stopper Mannone, Poyet hopes Vergini can provide genuine competition to O’Shea and Brown at the back.
The ex-Manchester United pair have been automatic picks under Poyet when available, but the head coach rates Vergini highly and wants the 6ft 3in Argentina international to push hard for a regular starting spot.
Poyet added: “I hope he will be good for us, but he’s going to have compete against John and Wes.
“There’s (Valentin) Roberge, (Modibo) Diakite and (Carlos) Cuellar as well, although they’ve been playing less.
“But when you sign a new player, you hope he can provide a bit of competition with the rest.
“It’s a good situation for me, that if something happens, I can use him.
“We’ll see how it goes.”