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Oviedo’s return is needed, Gibson showed his quality, & 3 other hot takes from last night’s win

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Sunderland won their first game of the season yesterday evening, and there was much to take from the performance. Here are five key lessons learned from Bury 0 Sunderland 1.

Bury v Sunderland - Carabao Cup First Round Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Honeyman should keep his place

Rinsing two Bury players on the left hand side of the pitch to set away the move that led to his superb dinked finish was the cherry on the top of the cake that was George Honeyman’s performance last night. In his last two games he has undoubtedly proven that he’s more than capable of playing first team football.

Isn’t it just nice to see players that give a shit again? Honeyman charged around like a mad man for ninety minutes and put in a tremendous shift which will have delighted Sunderland manager Simon Grayson.

Norwich provide us with an immense test at the weekend and whilst the temptation is there to give Wahbi Khazri a game in his place, I think we’d be doing Honeyman a huge disservice if he wasn’t awarded for his fine showing with another start.

Oviedo’s return is needed

If we’re going to succeed this season we’ll need to have two fullbacks that we can depend upon both offensively and defensively.

I’m still sceptical about Brendan Galloway’s technical ability, and feel that once Bryan Oviedo returns to full fitness we might actually see the Everton loanee move inside as a central defender - allowing us more width and pace down that left hand side.

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Aiden McGeady is such an immense threat down that if you can pair him will someone that marauds forward, creating space, I think we can be lethal down that side of the pitch.

Here’s hoping that Oviedo comes through tonight’s U23s match with Spurs relatively unscathed.

Life in the old dog yet?

In my piece previewing yesterday evening’s game I said that I felt it was necessary that we partnered John O’Shea with Tyias Browning, and I’m so glad that we did.

Lamine Kone will likely leave the club in a matter of weeks and there’s no doubting that O’Shea will be needed in order to help steady the ship once he departs. The Ireland international’s legs have long since gone but he rolled back the years with an commanding performance against a fresh, energetic Bury attack that certainly didn’t lack in pace or vigour.

Bury v Sunderland - Carabao Cup First Round Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Browning’s natural athleticism combined with O’Shea’s wily experience isn’t a bad combination at all. Whilst I’d much prefer that we go out and spend money on someone that can fill the void left by Kone once he’s gone, it’s at least comforting to know that O’Shea is still capable of stepping in and producing a performance at the level that he did yesterday night.

Need for a striker intensifies by the game

The one minor disappointment from our display was that we didn’t threaten Bury as much as I would have liked, and a lot of that comes down to the fact we don’t seem to have a clinical forward leading the line.

That centre forward’s position really is there for the taking should anyone step up to the plate and earn it. It would have been interesting to see how Josh Maja would have performed last night if he was fit, because of all the strikers we have on our books currently he impressed the most in pre-season, scoring four goals.

I like Lewis Grabban and James Vaughan but they are workhorses, and to compliment their bustle and physicality it would be nice if we had someone nippy up top that has that incredible knack of being in the right place at the right time.

Bury played into Gibson’s hands

Darron Gibson is not suited to playing a deep, pressing game. He struggles off the ball and we are far too easily picked apart when he plays in a side that are on the back foot.

His showing yesterday gave us a glimpse at what he’s capable of if our opposition allow him the time and space to dictate the ball, and I have to say that I was very impressed with how he played.

There are going to be games this season, particularly at home, where Gibson is going to come in handy.