Bryan Oviedo faces battle to regain Sunderland place plus five other things learned from Southend win
Sunderland are just three points off the top of League One after the 3-0 win over Southend United.
Here's what we learned from the victory at the Stadium of Light.
Momentum with Sunderland
Momentum can be a wonderful thing in football. It can also, as Sunderland have witnessed in recent seasons, go the other way too.
But after back-to-back relegations, the buzz is back on Wearside thanks to the new owners, new squad and the impressive Jack Ross.
Sunderland have gained ground on League One leaders Portsmouth this week and after four straight wins are now just three points off with a game in hand.
Sunderland struggled to keep a clean sheet in the opening 10 games but have since discovered a new-found resilience.
And with their goalscoring threat, they will be hard to stop.
Fierce competition at left-back
Bryan Oviedo returned to the Sunderland squad following his three-game suspension but he had to make do with a place on the bench.
Reece James has been excellent in the recent winning run and there is no reason to change things.
Ovideo may have to make do with a place on the bench for the foreseeable.
And with Denver Hume also back in the coming weeks, the left-back spot is arguably the strongest position in the squad.
Bold subs pay off again
Jack Ross isn’t afraid to be bold with his substitutions, he has been known for making them early in games if he felt the need was there.
And his decision making helped seal the win against Southend United.
The scoreline would suggest it was a comfortable afternoon, it wasn’t, Southend pushed Sunderland all the way.
With Sunderland leading through George Honeyman, Ross replaced Dylan McGeouch and Jerome Sinclair with Josh Maja and Aiden McGeady.
Both played a big part in sealing victory.
Gooch a key man for Jack Ross
Lynden Gooch’s contribution this season has not gone unnoticed by Jack Ross.
With seven assists and three goals, Gooch has played a part in 10 goals in just 14 appearances.
Impressive stats. Gooch started the season in the more unfamiliar wing-back role but he has been given licence further forward since returning from a hamstring injury.
He was subbed early as a precaution and Ross will hope it is nothing more as Gooch has become a key player.
Home, sweet home
The Stadium of Light has not been a happy hunting ground for Sunderland in recent seasons.
So far in 2018-19 Sunderland are unbeaten in the league on Wearside and the home fans are being rewarded for their superb support with improving performances on home soil.
Sunderland had to fight hard against Southend, their quality proving too much in the end.
Three clinical finishes; a superb deft header from Honeyman before two unstoppable strikes from McGeady and Maguire.
The feelgood factor is back.
Sunderland’s strength-in-depth was evident with possibly one of the strongest benches in League One history.
And Charlie Wyke and Duncan Watmore are still to come back in.
Oviedo, Ozturk, O’Nien, McGeady, Maja and 17-year-old Mumba made up the options for Ross to choose from.
It must be comforting for the manager to be able to turn round during the game and see real game-changing options available to him.