Gus Poyet believes that Lee Cattermole and Liam Bridcutt can not only compete with each other for a position in the midfield, but also play in the same team together.
It seemed the game was up for Cattermole when he looked set for a deadline day move to Stoke following Bridcutt's arrival last month. But, after confirming that the midfielder was kept at the club at his request, Poyet sees a big role for both of his most defensive midfield options.
He told reporters:
I know how important Lee is for us and how much he will share the role with Liam.
Or as we said at the beginning, can Lee and Ki play together?
Well, can Liam and Lee play together? I'm sure there is going to be a game.
I've always been a fan of Cattermole, but I have never been all that convinced he is right man for the deep-lying role. When I look back on his Sunderland career, his best spell by far was when he was able to hunt down the ball with the insurance of Lorik Cana behind him.
It is a role he could easily reprise with Bridcutt looking after the defensive responsibilities. Cattermole has always been a midfield presser of real quality. Letting him off the leash a little seems a sensible thing to do.
I'd personally say that Manchester City this week is as good a game as any to play them both.