Sunderland’s capture of former Plymouth Argyle defender Callum McFadzean finally came good when handed his Black Cats debut in defeat to Mansfield Town during Saturday’s FA Cup First Round tie.
McFadzean moved to the Stadium of Light at the end of the transfer market to answer manager Phil Parkinson’s search for depth, having been released by the Pilgrims earlier this summer after 30 appearances during a one-year spell at Home Park.
Parkinson had opted against awarding the 26-year-old his chance to impress in the North East during his first weeks as a Sunderland player, despite hinting the wide defender who can also play at centre-half could feature in October’s defeat to rivals Portsmouth.
McFadzean finally saw game time in red and white this Saturday when the Black Cats visited Mansfield hoping to kick off their FA Cup campaign with a win. But while Sunderland lost, he was the clear silver lining.
Sunderland bowed out of the FA Cup after a poor second-half display from too many of Parkinson’s men, with chances to score few and far between from a side featuring the likes of Will Grigg and Danny Graham – two players with a combined 192 career goals.
Mansfield defended well to thwart the Black Cats in most, and eventually broke the deadlock through George Lapslie in the 49th-minute to begin Nigel Clough’s reign with the League Two Stags’ first win in any competition this term.
McFadzean presented a consistent threat during an impressive debut as he strived to help find a way back into the tie, with his series of excellent deliveries worthy of more than seeing Graham smash the crossbar from a few yards out.
The former Bury wing-back also forced Stags shot-stopper Marek Stech into action late in the first half, and impressed Parkinson during his time on the field.
“He’s only been with us a couple of weeks but with Denver [Hume] and Goochy [Lynden Gooch] being out, we decided to play him,” Parkinson said, via quotes by the Sunderland Echo.
“I had to protect him by bringing him off towards the end, because we don’t want him getting injured going forward. But he showed what he’s all about, and put in three or four top-class deliveries.
“He’s different to Denver in the way he gets into those areas, but he can be equally effective. I think he’ll be a good signing for us.”
Parkinson will no doubt be hopeful of seeing similar performances from McFadzean down the stretch, and may consider fielding the 26-year-old enforcer again when Sunderland visit Fleetwood Town in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night.