What we learned about Sunderland's four new signings after first Stadium of Light appearances

Sunderland handed out debuts to three of their January signing in the 1-0 win over AFC Wimbledon.

Sunday, 3rd February 2019, 12:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 16:12 pm
Kazaiah Sterling impressed during a brief cameo

Here, we run the rule over their efforts to see what they will bring for the rest of the season...

LEWIS MORGAN

Morgan was a late introduction to the XI after Lynden Gooch withdrew for family reasons.

He is a player Ross trusts implicitly and he was pleased with his contribution.

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"Lewis was an able deputy and the way it worked, it was brilliant for him to get the opportunity to start the game.

“He can be pleased and supporters will have seen what he will bring.

"I thought he actually got better as the game wore on, he has not played a lot this season as well."

Morgan's performance was one of the biggest positives for Sunderland supporters.

He drew some of the biggest roars of the afternoon when he raced into space, showing genuine pace when dribbling with the ball.

The 22-year-old beat his marker with ease, showing his ability in one-on-one situations over and over again.

If anything, the Black Cats did not use him enough.

He came just short of a dream debut, firing wide in the early stages from the kind of position on the edge of the area where he usually expects to convert.

KAZAIAH STERLING

A brief introduction for Sterling but one that underlined his talents and also the challenge ahead.

He was given a brutal to introduction to League One life early on as he raced towards the byline. One poor touch saw the move come to a swift end and he was unceremoniously dumped on the floor by the defence as a result.

Sterling looked raw, with some heavy touches and a couple of moments where team-mates urged him not to be static in open play.

There were some definite positives, too.

His pace and instinct to run into the channels offered a very different option for the attacking midfielders and will help stretch games.

At one stage he was just inches from racing through on goal. He spotted the chance to get one-on-one and made a great run for Max Power, just going seconds too early and being caught offside.

He also pressed defenders relentlessly and showed he has a very high work-rate off the ball.

Afterwards, Jack Ross was eager to underline just how whirlwind the move had been for the Spurs loanee.

The clear message being that he can only get better from here.

“For Kaz, it is a real learning curve for him too, it is different to what he is used to.

"To Kaz's credit he travelled up late on Thursday night and arrived early hours Friday.

“He wanted to be with us first thing Friday and he only met the players on Friday.

“I don’t even know if he knows everyone’s names in the team!

“He is a nice young man. It is very different to what he has been playing in, it will help us through and getting him some decent game time will help him too.”

GRANT LEADBITTER

Aiden McGeady's winning goal may have stemmed from a defensive error but the winger was quick to praise Leadbitter's vision in isolating him with an excellent switch of play.

Leadbitter looked a little short of match fitness and especially early on was caught on the ball once or twice, but was very neat and tidy on the whole.

His role was similar to that of Dylan McGeouch and that poise was important as the Black Cats saw out the game.

An encouraging start with some pleasing, effective tackles in the heat of the midfield battle.

WILL GRIGG

Grigg was paraded to supporters pre-match and was given

An ankle injury meant that he could not feature but he will return to full training in the middle part of next week and hopefully be part of the squad for the trip to Oxford United next weekend.

It was a game that showed what a big difference he will make, particularly at home.

There were not enough good runs either off the shoulders or defenders or into the six-yard box when the ball was out wide.

The likes of McGeady and Morgan will make him opportunities.

He will be desperate to get started taking them.