Bryan Oviedo has saluted the contribution of Sunderland’s new signings as the Black Cats go in search of a Carabao Cup upset at Everton, writes Roy Kelly.
While a 1-1 draw at Hull City might not exactly qualify as a turning of the corner for Simon Grayson’s side, they have made a step forward.
Marc Wilson formed a good partnership with Lamine Kone, while further forward, Jonny Williams and Callum McManaman carried a threat to the opposition.
McManaman had an assist for James Vaughan’s first goal for the club and was thwarted for one of his own by a great Allan McGregor save.
Williams had an excellent game and if Sunderland are to shock Everton tonight and Cardiff City on Saturday, Grayson will need them firing again.
“Jonny and Callum are very good players, not just with the ball but without it,” said Oviedo.
“They give us a lot of options, we are so happy to have players like them.
“And when we get our players back from injury that makes us a very strong squad.”
Ex-Everton product Vaughan ended his 10-match wait for a goal and he will return to his former home tonight with belief strengthened.
“We are so happy for him for his goal, it was really good and it gave us a draw,” said the Costa Rica international.
“I hope that will continue for the next games, his goals will be important.”
There is no shortage of Goodison Park connections in the Black Cats camp.
Oviedo spent close to five seasons on Merseyside, having joined the Toffees from FC Copenhagen in 2012.
The left-back played 68 times for the club in league, cups and Europe and is looking forward to returning to his old stamping ground.
“It’s very exciting to be going back to Goodison Park,” he said.
“It’s a good opportunity for me to play against my old team.
“But it’s a good opportunity for us to go and win that game.”
Given a whole division separates tonight’s cup adversaries, outwardly there appears no pressure on Sunderland.
In cricket parlance, the Black Cats have a ‘free hit’ but Oviedo does not totally agree.
“It’s an important match for us,” he said. “With it being the cup, it could be seen as a more relaxing game but we need to start winning.
“We played better [last Tuesday] against Forest and we played well at Hull.
“We are improving, step by step, but we now need to keep improving and we need to start winning.”