Jamie McAllister delivers this verdict on Sunderland's encouraging win and Will Grigg's late strike

Jamie McAllister praised Sunderland’s youngsters as they again impressed in the club’s final pre-season friendly.

Friday, 30th July 2021, 9:44 pm

Sunderland’s assistant head coach also hailed a ‘very pleasing’ moment as Will Grigg scored his first goal of the pre-season campaign to snatch the late 2-1 win against Hull City.

The Black Cats had taken the lead in the first half through a fine Ross Stewart goal, before Josh Magennis levelled the scores midway through the second half.

The contest looked to be heading for a draw when Grigg swooped at the back post, following good work from Josh Hawkes and Tom Flanagan at a corner.

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WIll Grigg celebrates his late goal at the Stadium of Light

Elliot Embleton and Dan Neil again put in strong showings, with the former looking certain to assume a prominent role when the campaign begins next week.

Sunderland’s win was all the more impressive given that the squad had been hit with an outbreak of gastroenteritis in the build-up to the fixture.

Lee Johnson was one of those effective and was therefore not present in the dug-out.

“I think that's the positive over the course of pre-season,” McAllister said.

“The young lads have come in again and done really well.

“First half I thought we were excellent, against a good side, they kind of sat in and we had to break them down at times.

“There were some nice movements from us, things that we've been working on in training, little place changes and playing through the line.

“The play in the final third was good, it's great play for Ross' goal.

“Second half they were always going to have a spell and for the most part we dealt with it. We could have done better for the goal, you've got to show the winger outside, but that's a coaching point we can improve on and remedy.

“Overall, to go and win the game with Grigg getting us goal, was very pleasing.

“It was a brilliant moment for us.

“He's got quality in the final third and we just need to get him going again. It was nice to see him get that goal.”

Sunderland remain light on options in some key positions, particularly in defensive areas where there is still no senior full-back on the books.

The Black Cats also want another striker, with Sheffield United youngster Daniel Jebbison watching on at the Stadium of Light on Friday night. Sunderland are one of a number of clubs interested in signing the 18-year-old.

McAllister said the need for new additions is obvius, but insisted those who have stepped in over the course of pre-season have shown they are good enough to be trusted during the course of the campaign.

“We need strength in depth and we know that,” McAllister said.

“But from the coaching side of things we can only focus on the lads that are here and getting them ready for the games coming up.

“They've acquitted themselves really well in what has been a tough pre season, the news lads have adapted to our new style of play.

“The big plus for us is the way the youngsters have gone through pre-season, a lot of them who have to play out position at times.”