What Sunderland's new management team have made of Bali Mumba and the debate over his best position
Sunderland assistant manager Steve Parkin says Bali Mumba has made a positive impression since his arrival on Wearside alongside Phil Parkinson.
A number of the club’s young players have trained with the first team as Parkinson looks to gain a full picture of the options he has at his disposal.
He also attended U23 games and is likely to take a small group with him for the leasing.com trophy against Scunthorpe on Tuesday night.
Mumba could well be one of those.
With Conor McLaughlin and Tom Flanagan away on international duty, his recent development in the right-back role for the U23s could serve him well, though Luke O’Nien can of course play there and Parkinson is set to name a strong side in a bid to put an end to disappointing recent results.
EIther way, the 18-year-old has made a positive impression so far.
“Phil went to the U23 game on Sunday and said he (Mumba) played well,” Parkin said.
“I did ask the guys on Monday morning, the academy staff, and they said he played well. I’ve got to say that when he’s trained with me, he’s been great. He’s been really good. Technically, he can handle the ball, and he is sharp and bright.
“Obviously, I’ve not seen him play, eyes on, in a match as yet, and I’m looking forward to that, but he seems a good player and a nice kid.”
Mumba initially emerged as a talented central midfielder, his technical attributes well suited to the role.
His recent conversion to the full-back position has sparked debate and while Parkin believes it important that he establishes a favoured position, he thinks he has the attributes to thrive in defence.
“I think it’s important that, at some stage, he nails down a position,” he said.
“He played right wing-back on Sunday and I think he’s ideally suited to that type of position because he looks as though he can cover the ground as well.
“Defensively, I’ve not seen him properly in training because we’ve not had a lot of 11v11s. They’ve just been small-sided games with all the matches we’ve had. But he looks a good player and I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”