The Sunderland players who staked their claim in behind-closed-doors friendly win

A number of Phil Parkinson’s squad pressed their claim for more regular gametime in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 6:16 pm

Sunderland beat Carlisle United 5-2 as Parkinson keeps his players who have struggled for regular minutes sharp ahead of the promotion run-in.

It’s understood that Will Grigg, Kyle Lafferty, Antoine Semenyo, Josh Scowen and youngster Benji Kimpioka were on the scoresheet at the Academy of Light.

Joel Lynch also featured as he recovers from a rib problem, while the Sunderland boss is also keen to ensure that the likes of Tommy Smith and Declan John are ready if the opportunity comes to feature in league action.

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Sunderland striker Will Grigg

Parkinson had praised a number of his fringe players in the 1-1 draw with Fleetwood Town last night, with Duncan Watmore, Semenyo and Lafferty all playing a part in Max Power’s dramatic 97th minute equaliser.

“I’m pleased for the lads who came on and made a contribution tonight because it’s frustrating for lads being out of the team,” Parkinson said.

“Lafferty, Duncan and Antoine came on and I thought they gave us a lift of energy.”

Grigg has not featured for Sunderland since the 1-1 draw with Blackpool on December 14th, and Parkinson revealed in his press-conference on Monday that he had been doing extra training to try and force his way back in.

“Will's fine,” he said.

“He's doing a lot of extra training which is important and waiting for his opportunity.

“I still feel he's got a role to play.”