LEE Cattermole and Adam Johnson both got much-needed game time for Sunderland in a behind-closed-doors game against a Motherwell XI yesterday.
The Black Cats duo both featured in a 1-0 win at the Academy of Light against the Scottish Premiership side.
Cattermole hasn’t played since the 1-1 draw against Hull City on March 3, having missed the defeats against Aston Villa and West Ham through a two-game suspension.
The combative midfielder is set to return in the Wear-Tyne derby against Newcastle next weekend, which would have meant a month without a match for the 27-year-old.
New head coach Dick Advocaat, therefore, set up the friendly against ‘Well, and also included Johnson in his side.
The winger appeared as a late substitute against West Ham on Saturday, having only returned to training a few days earlier after his club suspension was lifted.
That was his first action since the defeat at Manchester United on February 28, with Johnson having been suspended for two weeks after allegations of sexual activity with a girl under 16.
The England international had his police bail extended until April 23.
Johnson has been Sunderland’s derby hero over the last few seasons, netting in three successive matches at St James’s Park, including a last-gasp winner in December.
Jermain Defoe was absent from the Sunderland starting line-up against Motherwell, with Connor Wickham and Danny Graham leading the attack along with Johnson.
The fit members of Sunderland’s squad who remained on Wearside week during the international break all featured in the game.
Costel Pantilimon, Seb Larsson, John O’Shea and Steven Fletcher are away with their countries.
SUNDERLAND: Mannone, Jones, Van Aanholt, Vergini, Reveillere, Cattermole, Bridcutt, Rodwell, Johnson, Wickham, Graham.