Lee Johnson will be fuming with Josh Scowen after the Sunderland midfielder was carried in his side’s victory over Lincoln City, before being substituted through injury on Saturday.
The Black Cats maintained their buoyant start to life under their new head coach to move up to eighth in the League One table thanks to goals from Grant Leadbitter, Jack Diamond and a brace from Charlie Wyke.
An early onslaught brought Sunderland a commanding lead as they reminded the third-tier of their promotion threat, with the play-off positions now firmly within touching distance after Ipswich Town were beaten 2-0 at home by Portsmouth.
Johnson handed Scowen his 13th start in 15 League One appearances for the season at the LNER Stadium, maintaining faith in the Phil Parkinson favourite who played each minute of the former Black Cats boss’ final three games in charge.
But Scowen was unable to demonstrate much quality during his time on the field against Lincoln, as the £720,000-rated midfielder began to wane heavily after a lively first-half performance that saw him provide an important role in Sunderland’s pressing game.
Scowen departed the action just after the hour mark having failed to beat his marker with his only attempted dribble of the match, while failing to find the target with his sole shot and failing to produce a key ball from his 15 accurate passes, per SofaScore.
The Wycombe Wanderers product only attempted a total of 17 passes before being replaced by George Dobson, vastly fewer than goalkeeper Lee Burge who found teammates with 22 of his 44 attempts. The 27-year-old also completed more long balls (six) than Scowen attempted (zero).
Johnson further saw Scowen struggle in the duels, with the midfielder winning just three of eight ground battles and one of two aerial contests, while committing two fouls, being dribbled past twice, making no interceptions, blocking no shots and providing only one clearance.
Scowen was able to win possession in three of his attempted tackles, yet could now see Johnson opt to rest the London-born midfielder for Tuesday night’s clash with AFC Wimbledon at the Stadium of Light regardless of the extent of the knock sustained.