For Sunderland, it feels as though one piece of positivity is followed by hefty setbacks.
After finally sacking Phil Parkinson and appointing Lee Johnson, they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Wigan. They bounced back tremendously to beat Lincoln 4-0 but were then condemned by the dreaded pandemic and the EFL.
Despite missing eight senior players through a scare with the virus, Sunderland still had to play against Wimbledon on Tuesday evening.
Of course, they struggled, drawing 1-1 without a number of their star men. Considering what they had to work with though, it was a promising result, especially when you assess the performances of some of their fringe players.
Aiden O’Brien looked lively by making three dribbles but someone that was on top form was Wolves loanee Dion Sanderson.
The full-back was handed an opportunity at centre-back and stole the show for the Mackems, usurping Bailey Wright’s performance despite the Australian scoring a goal.
It was Sanderson that was imperious at the back and demonstrated fabulous qualities in defensive situations and when carrying the ball forward.
Furthermore, Sanderson won three out of four aerial duels he contested, and also came out on top in three ground duels – more than Wright – producing four clearances as well.
He was dribbled past only once and didn’t commit a single foul, showing fantastic discipline and concentration levels. If it wasn’t for a penalty, he and Wright would easily have kept a clean sheet judging by their individual displays.
Sanderson can play as a centre-half and full-back so this showed that Johnson has plenty of thinking to do in terms of his team selection.
The 21-year-old always seemed to be in the right place at the right time, reigning supreme and demonstrating a pillar of composure at the heart of the defence.
Surely after this performance, the youngster has to be in contention to start more often. It was an exemplary display.