The Black Cats have enjoyed two weeks away from competitive football and Tony Mowbray has had his first chance to settle into life at the club after being thrown in at the deep end.
In that match, Mowbray had to deal without having a natural striker available to him. Elliot Embleton and Alex Pritchard started up front and struggled as they failed to register a single shot and won three of their 10 combined duels, whilst only creating one opportunity for a teammate – as per SofaScore.
Ellis Simms and Ross Stewart both remain sidelined due to injury and the head coach must now finally unleash young forward Jewison Bennette for his first start to fill the void that Pritchard and Embleton were unable to at the top end of the pitch against the Hornets.
The Costa Rican international did not return to training until Friday but enjoyed a superb week with his country as he scored twice in a 2-2 draw with South Korea and should be heading into this weekend on a high.
Bennette should be riding the crest of a wave at the moment as he scored a brace for Costa Rica after finding the back of the net for the first time as a Sunderland player against Watford – his second appearance in English football.
He came off the bench – as he did on his debut against Reading – and reacted quickly in the box to bring down a bouncing ball and fire into the bottom corner to rescue a draw.
Mowbray recently described the winger as an “exciting” player and heaped praise on his style of play, saying: “He’s very fast and direct, and is one of those electric players that gets people out of their seats.”
The 18-year-old dynamo scored two goals and provided one assist in four league games for CS Herediano prior to making the move to England this summer, which means that he has five goals and one assist in seven matches for club and country this term.
He has shown promise at the top end of the pitch and his sublime cameo against the Hornets should be enough to convince the Black Cats boss that he deserves an opportunity to start, particularly given the continued absence of Stewart and Simms.
Embleton and Pritchard did not do enough from the start and Bennette should now be given a chance to show that he can offer more to the team whilst playing upfront.