Jack Ross says handing Max Power the captain’s armband last week showed the level of trust he has in the 25-year-old.
Power made his return from suspension against Port Vale in the FA Cup and days later led a youthful side the Checkatrade Trophy.
Though the Black Cats have no official vice-captain, Power was given the armband earlier in the season when George Honeyman dropped out of the side.
That game, against Bradford City, saw Power pick up his second red card of the season but after impressing off the bench against Wycombe, Ross says he is forcing his way back into the team.
“I’m delighted to have him back available,” he said.
“It shows the trust we have in him that we gave him the captaincy on Tuesday despite the couple of issues that he’s had. I like him a lot, he’s forcing his way back into my team which is all I can ask for.
“It’s difficult to get into the team when they’re winning games and he knows that, I can’t just shoehorn people in when others are doing well. But Josh’s impact and his impact showed that they wanted to get into the team.”
Power’s return is a major boost to Ross, with the former Wigan midfielder making a big impression in his early appearances for the club.
“I said it to my staff after the Port Vale game when he had a similar impact from the bench,” he said.
“It reminds you, why we were so keen to bring him and those attributes that he’ll bring over the course of a season. He’s desperate to do well, that’s why he’s ended up frustrated at times. He looked fit and strong on Saturday.”