FIT-AGAIN Duncan Watmore took another step on the comeback trail with a second substitute’s outing against Manchester United last night.
Watmore’s progress was halted by a broken fibula just before Christmas, when the promising winger had been edging closer to first-team contention after training with Gus Poyet’s squad.
But after returning to the fold from the bench in last week’s defeat at Liverpool, Watmore played another half-hour last night in Sunderland Under-21s’ 1-1 draw against Manchester United.
Development coach Robbie Stockdale said: “It’s a little bit more time for him.
“He looked a bit rusty on his first run and then it took him 20 minutes to get back into position!
“But in all seriousness, he lifts you and gives you something other players don’t have.”
However, Watmore couldn’t spark a victory against 10-man United after Mikael Mandron - able to feature under the terms of his youth loan with League Two Shrewsbury - had drawn the Black Cats level at the Stadium of Light.
After United first-team defender Tyler Blackett was shown a straight red card for a daft off-the-ball push early in the second half, Stockdale felt Sunderland should have done more to make their man advantage count.
He said: “It’s an opportunity lost. We should have won the game.
“I thought we were okay first half, they scored the goal, but then we finished the half well on top really.
“I don’t think we worked their goalkeeper enough for all the possession.
“When they go down to 10 men and put everyone behind the ball, it’s not easy to break them down.
“But I’m disappointed that we took too many touches on the ball, didn’t move it quicker from side to side to pull them out of position.
“The young players sometimes get a bit anxious to score straightaway when they need to be a bit cuter in their play.
“We’ll take a point and move on, but we should have had three.”