Record-breaking Sunderland keep up pressure as two big summer signings miss out: Six things learned from Plymouth victory

Lee Cattermole and George Honeyman were on the scoresheet as Sunderland made it three straight wins.

Sunday, 3rd March 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 3rd March 2019, 4:07 pm
Sunderland skipper George Honeyman.

Here's what we learned from the 2-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle.

Fate in Sunderland's own hands

Sunderland’s fate remains in their own hands, with a game in hand over Barnsley, two points ahead of them.

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Jack Ross’ side have scored in every league fixture this season, an impressive record and one which Ross will be hoping they extend to the end of the season.

Sunderland also set a new record on Saturday, this is now their best ever start to a calendar year following a 13-game unbeaten run, breaking a record dating back to 1964.

Luke O’Nien one of the first names on the teamsheet.

The midfielder-turned full back has made the right-back spot his own.

Adam Matthews and fit-again Donald Love will do well to play again before the end of the season given O’Nien’s brilliant form.

Energy, width, pace and quality in possession, O’Nien is also one of the club’s best finishers.

At times Sunderland almost play with two right wingers given his eagerness to get forward.

Jack Ross has finally found his perfect midfield combination.

Grant Leadbitter has added a new dimension to Sunderland’s midfield since returning from Middlesbrough.

His quality from corners is well documented but his control and quality on the ball has given Sunderland greater control of games.

As a result, Sunderland were comfortable for large spells against Bristol Rovers and Plymouth Argyle.

Leadbitter, Lee Cattermole and George Honeyman the first choice trio.

Jack Baldwin and Dylan McGeouch casualties of Sunderland form and depth of squad.

Sunderland’s options, when all fit, are well documented and as a result, a couple of the club’s big summer signings have found themselves way down the pecking order.

Baldwin, after a couple of errors, has been taken out the firing line and is now fourth choice centre back with McGeouch even further behind in the midfield options.

Both were fit but neither made the bench on Saturday.

Battle for automatic promotion looks set to go down to the final day.

Wearside is braced for a nerve-wracking finale to the League One campaign, with four clubs still battling for those top two spots.

Luton Town, ten-man Barnsley and Portsmouth all won at the weekend so it was vital Sunderland kept up the pace in what has proven to be a fiercely competitive division.

Like busses, you wait ages for one and then two turn up at once.

When Lee Cattermole scored in the 4-2 win against Gillingham that was his first goal at the Stadium of Light.

Against Plymouth, he made it two in two home games.

His goalscoring run has caught everyone by surprise, except his manager, who says his ‘hunger’ is the reason behind his goalscoring run.

Ross said: “He’s having a great season, there’s no doubt about that.”