Jack Ross was amazed to hear that Lee Cattermole had never scored at the Stadium of Light before Tuesday night, and believes the midfielder can add to his tally between now and the end of the season.
This is Cattermole’s tenth season on Wearside but his early goal against Gillingham was the first time he has scored at his home ground.
It was his fourth of the season, making it his best ever campaign in front of goal.
“I can’t comment on previous seasons, but I was amazed it was his first goal at the Stadium of Light,” Ross said.
“I have said before, with the exception of under Gus Poyet, when he played much more as a sitting midfielder, I do think he gets himself in the box well.
“He makes a lot of runs in there and when you do that you give yourself a chance of scoring.
“Sometimes you just have seasons where it falls for you a little bit more as well.
“He’s got four now, if he can add two or three more between now and the end of the season then that’s a very good return for a central midfielder.”
Cattermole’s composure in the box on Tuesday came as no surprise to Ross, who has spoken before about the 30-year-old’s technical quality.
The midfielder scored thee times in the early part of the season, before injury checked his progress.
After the third of those goals, a fine finish against Coventry City, Ross said: “It is maybe just reflective of how he feels about himself and how he is playing at the moment.
“You don’t get into those areas without a desire, I’ve previously mentioned his desire to do well for the club.
“We did some stuff on Thursday around that type of finish, he was split half and half doing that with the defensive work - obviously it paid off for him!
“He has quality, technically he has quality so when he gets in that area then you do fancy him and he fancies himself in that area now - long may it continue.
“Naturally, he will always be the type of player he has been but he recognises he still has an energy to bring to the game and the balance with other players at times is encouraging him to do that,” he added.
“I can’t comment properly about how he has played in a Sunderland side before but maybe there is that opportunity to get forward more than there has been previously.
“When he is in those areas, you can see his ability to finish.”
His attacking opportunities are likely to increase following the arrival and impressive form of Grant Leadbitter.
The pair played together for the first time against Gillingham and the Black Cats boss highlighted their composure and control of the game.
Cattermole’s first Stadium of Light goal may not be the last.