At the Ricoh Arena last Saturday Dylan McGeouch’s frustrations were visible.
The 25-year-old looked ready to become a talisman for Sunderland this season but injuries have curtailed his progress.
With Lee Cattermole thriving, his place in the team will be under threat in the weeks to come.
Jack Ross has an enormous amount of trust in a player he moved heaven and earth to sign this summer, however, and the Black Cats boss says he is seeing promising signs.
The player himself is far more critical, and that is a characterstic the manager likes to see.
“Dylan is really conscientious about his football,” Ross said.
“He thinks deeply about it and he’s quite hard on himself.
“Even the other night he was hard on himself because he still feels he can have much more of an impact.
“But he is getting there and I’ve been pleased with how he has done.
“It’s a different challenge for him, a different style of game, but it’s been pleasing that he has managed to get minutes under his belt in this period although we’ll assess things this weekend because of the number of minutes he has played and that other midfielders have played.
“I think he is feeling more and more comfortable,” he added.
“There’s always an adjustment period when you come to any new club, and there’s an adjustment period when you move to a different area.
“He’s getting there, which is good, but he also believes he has an awful lot more to give.
“So do I, but I would always be very positive about him when I speak about him.
“I’m sure if he was sitting here, he would be a lot more critical of himself.
“In some ways that’s good, though, because it shows that he has high standards and he feels he has a way to go before he has reached those standards here.”
Though there is still more to come, McGeouch showed some good signs against Peterborough and Ross admits that kind of game, open and with the ball played on the floor, suits him.
The former Hibernian midfielder is still adjusting to life in League One but Ross has no doubts that he is capable.
“He is feeling fitter and stronger with every game,” Ross said.
“I said before the game that I had a feeling it would be quite stretched and it would suit us, and that was how it turned out.
“In most of the games this season, we have tended to play better in the second half because that’s when the games have tended to become more stretched.
“It was more open on Tuesday, and I think Dylan thrives in that situation.
“But he’s going to have to adapt to all types of games because it won’t always be like that.
“That’s why when people ask whether it is harder to play against teams high up in the league or lower down, I don’t have any worries about playing teams who are up high because I think it brings out the best in us.
“I think that showed on Tuesday.”