Three fringe Sunderland players aiming to impress Tony Mowbray in quest for more minutes

New Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray has shown his willingness to put faith in youth, with the oldest of his five substitutes against Watford being 21-year-old Jay Matete.

There are several players on the fringes who will be looking to improve their minutes under the new manager following Alex Neil’s decision to join Stoke City last month. We take a look at three of them:

Jay Matete

The young midfielder has impressed the new manager with his recent substitute performances, Mowbray labelled his performance against Watford “assured and powerful.”

Sunderland have a free weekend due to the international break.

Despite looking more settled than he did last season, in his four appearances in the league so far Matete has already picked up three bookings, averaging a card every 37 minutes.

This discipline issue is something Mowbray will no doubt be focusing on improving before he gives the 21-year-old an extended run.

Sunderland are not lacking in depth in the centre of the park, and Mowbray has continued with Neil’s trusted pairing of Corry Evans and Dan Neil, but having already caught the manager’s eye and earning his praise, Matete may have the chance to work his way up the pecking order.

Leon Dajaku

The young forward has struggled to impose himself on the first team since his loan from Union Berlin became a permanent transfer.

The German managed a goal contribution every 150 minutes in League One with four goals and four assists, but has only managed to secure himself 33 minutes of Championship football 10 games into the season after being temporarily ruled out with an injury.

All but one of these minutes has came under Mowbray, with the 21-year-old coming off the bench against Watford and Middlesbrough – when he was only included in the squad due to a Ross Stewart injury in the warm-up.

Trai Hume

The right-back has only played 368 minutes since signing from Linfield in January, with 128 of those coming in this campaign.

Under Mowbray, Lynden Gooch has operated as a wing-back on the right-hand side, with his average position often being on or near the half-way line.

From what we have seen of Hume, he looks to play in a similar mould, meaning he could be a good fit for the new manager’s system.