Keiren Westwood has been challenged to make the most of his Sunderland debut after Simon Mignolet’s derby blunder.
Goalkeeper Westwood will make his competitive Black Cats bow in tonight’s Carling Cup second round clash at Brighton as boss Steve Bruce bloods his summer signings.
Bruce insists he always planned to hand a start to the Republic of Ireland international, regardless of Mignolet’s positional error which saw Ryan Taylor grab the only goal in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United.
But Bruce admits Westwood could be in contention to keep his place in Saturday’s arduous Premier League trip to newly-promoted Swansea, if he impresses at the Amex Stadium.
Bruce told the Echo: “Simon has done fantastically well since he came to the club, but I think he knew in himself that I was probably going to play Keiren in this game.
“And it would be unfair on Keiren to tell him one week that he will be playing at Brighton and then change my mind.
“So I am not going to have second thoughts on that one – Keiren needs to play and this is a good opportunity for him. He is a very competent goalkeeper, with plenty of experience, and it is up to him now to stake his claim.
“Hopefully he will look upon this as a chance to show what he can do because I brought him here to mount a challenge to the other keepers.”
Westwood’s fellow summer signings, David Vaughan and Craig Gardner, are also set to make their first Sunderland starts after being restricted to substitute appearances in the opening two Premier League games.
* Full story in tonight’s Sunderland Echo