What Phil Parkinson made of Sunderland's Carlisle win, Charlie Wyke's cameo and Remi Matthews' mixed debut
Phil Parkinson says he felt Charlie Wyke was back to his best after he came off the bench to score twice in Sunderland’s 3-1 win over Carlisle United.
An impressive cameo from Will Grigg in Sunderland’s first pre-season game against Gateshead had laid down the gauntlet to the centre-forward who has been Parkinson’s first choice for the vast majority of his tenure on Wearside so far.
Parkinson admitted the 27-year-old had been disappointing in his first outing at the weekend, but says his performance at the Stadium of Light showed his true ability.
Wyke formed a lively attacking trio with Chris Maguire and Dan Neil, the three substitutes helping to turn a 1-0 deficit into a comfortable 3-1 win.
"We were disappointed with him at the weekend and I think he was himself, he was a bit static," Parkinson said.
“Today when he came on, not just his goals but his all-round game, that's how Charlie Wyke can play.
“His hold-up play was great, set Dan Neil away a couple of times, I was really pleased with him.”
Parkinson also said Remi Matthews would be better for his first outing in a Sunderland shirt, after an error from the summer signing allowed Carlisle to take the lead in the second half.
Matthews fumbled a long-range effort from Lewis Allesandra, but did rally to deny Gavin Reilly with a smart stop shortly after.
“The thing with Remi was he only trained for a day [before this game],” Parkinson said.
“We had that decision to make and we felt we had to almost fast-track him to get him up to speed.
“Burgey will probably start on Saturday so we decided to play him.
“I thought he did alright, he should save it and he'll be disappointed with it, but as a goalkeeper you've got to react and his next save was a good one.
“He'll be better for that 60 minutes.”
It was the second game in succession that Parkinson’s change XI produced the best attacking play, and the Black Cats boss is already seeing competition for places rise across the pitch.
Sunderland will play their final pre-season friendly against Harrogate Town on Saturday, before facing Hull City a week later in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
“It had the feeling of a league game with the conditions, it slickened the surface up and there were tackles flying in,” Parkinson said.
“In the first half we had to earn the right to play, in patches we did well, we competed and the energy levels were good.
“We didn't get the goal and the second half we started sloppily. We gave the ball away cheaply, a few free-kicks given away cheaply, there were a few flicks where we needed to get hold of the ball.
“Sometimes when the lads know they're going out for 15 minutes, that can happen.
“Credit to the lads who came on, I thought they raised the bar and we looked a really threatening team.”