Jack Ross sprung a couple of surprises with his first team sheet.
Firstly, Joel Asoro - subject of a £2million bid from Swansea City - was named on the bench, though it turned out he wasn't to be involved and instead watched on from a balcony above the bench.
The second surprise was the inclusion of triallist Anton Forrester in the starting line-up.
We take a closer look at the striker and how he performed in the opening 45 minutes.
Who is he?
Forrester is 24 years of age and stands at 6ft tall. He is a striker and was born in Liverpool.
The forward is available on a free transfer after leaving Port Vale this summer.
What is his pedigree?
His statistics don't set the pulse rate going, having scored just four league goals for Port Vale in the past two seasons.
Jack Ross obviously sees something in him though having agreed to take him on trial and hand him a start tonight.
He started his career at Everton as a youth but didn't make a first team appearance and joined Blackburn Rovers on a free.
Forrester only made one cup appearance for Rovers, instead spending time out on loan, firstly at Bury where he scored six goals in 18 starts - one effort was voted goal of the season.
After recovering from a long-term injury, he joined Morecambe on loan in November 2015 but only made a handful of appearances.
In the summer of 2016 he joined Port Vale as a free agent, signing a two-year deal.
In the 2016-17 campaign he scored twice in 24 League One appearances, the following season he scored three goals in 17 appearances following their relegation to League Two the year
Forrester has suffered knee, hamstring and thigh injuries during his career to date.
Why would Sunderland take him on trial and how did he do in the first half?
Well, Sunderland are desperate for strikers. Joel Asoro seems to be Swansea City bound after they had a £2million bid accepted.
That leaves the Black Cats with Josh Maja and Andrew Nelson, with Duncan Watmore not back until the Autumn.
Ross will be looking to add at least two strikers to his squad before the season gets underway for real.
Forrester had a chance to impress against Darlington at Blackwell Meadows having been handed a start.
He led the Sunderland attack in the first half, with summer signing Chris Maguire on the left of the front three and Luke Molyneux on the right.
Forrester didn't trouble the Darlington keeper but he showed a willingness to come deep for the ball.
The striker showed some decent touches with his back to goal but in truth did little in the box in the opening 45 minutes. He worked hard but didn't threaten. Spent a lot of time up front on
The service to him didn't help, Luke Molyneux showed some excellent touches but needed to work on his final ball.