Sunderland AFC player watch: How did new boys George Dobson and Marc McNulty fare against Heerenveen?
Sunderland lost to 1-0 Heerenveen at the Stadium of Light last night to a blockbuster long-range effort from Hicham Faik – but how did Jack Ross’ two new signings to get on in their first appearence on Wearside?
Well, neither George Dobson or Marc McNulty started Sunderland’s last public pre-season friendly, meaning both may have a big part to play in tomorrow’s behind-closed-doors outing against fellow North East team Hartlepool United.
McNulty, who signed on loan from Championship Reading earlier this week, replaced the lively but lacking-in-end-product Benji Kimpioka mid-way through the second-half.
The former Coventry man’s introduction did, however, serve to inject some much-needed pace energy and pace into a forward line boasting the Black Cats big-money signing last January, Will Grigg – who failed to impress.
After the impressive Elliot Embleton’s excellent run and cutback, McNulty almost had an immediate impact – but saw his shot blocked by a robust Heerenveen defence.
You could argue the 26-year-old former Sheffield United man achieved more in his cameo performance than Grigg managed in 90 minutes.
Dobson, signed from League One relegated Walsall, replaced Grant Leadbitter and slotted into Ross’ 3-5-2 formation as one of the two deep-lying central midfielders.
Although he had little time to make any sort of real impact, the ex-West Ham youth teamer’s stature was noticeable – at 6 foot 1, the 21-year-old looks like he will bring additional physicality in the middle.
Dobson was full of energy and speed in his brief substitute appearance – two traits which starting pair Dylan McGeouch and Leadbitter lacked on the night.