Sunderland travel to Yorkshire to take on Huddersfield Town on Wednesday evening and Tony Mowbray should unleash Jewison Bennette for his first start.
The Black Cats will be without influential winger Jack Clarke due to suspension at The John Smith’s Stadium after he picked up his fifth booking of the season on Saturday, which opens up a spot on the wing for the exciting Costa Rican.
Since joining from C.S. Herediano during the summer, the teenager has been limited to seven appearances off the bench but has caught the eye with his performances, scoring a memorable equalising goal in the 2-2 draw against Watford.
Bennette would certainly have big boots to fill, as Clarke has been one of the standout performers on Wearside so far this season, with four goals and six assists to his name in the Championship.
Only Ross Stewart has earned a higher average rating in Sunderland’s squad from WhoScored, which emphasises how important the former Tottenham Hotspur man has become in Mowbray’s side, but Bennette deserves his chance to finally show what he can do from the start.
When the 18-year-old joined in the summer he was heavily praised by former manager Alex Neil.
He said: “He is a huge talent and an international player. Our model is to unearth the best young talent and try to develop them, so for everyone, it is very exciting.
“We need to be patient and allow him time to acclimatise to a new country and learn the language – he is certainly one for the future.”
Considering fellow wingers Leon Dajaku and Amad Diallo have both flattered to deceive in their performances so far this season, with their ratings seeing them ranked as the 16th and 23rd-best-rated players in Sunderland’s squad, it is surely time for Bennette to get his chance.
With Mowbray searching for Sunderland’s first win in four games, it is time that the 58-year-old tried something different and rewarded Bennette with his first start for the Black Cats, in the hope that he can capitalise on the absence of Clarke by staking his claim for more regular football.