Goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin was dropped for Lee Burge as the Black Cats’ Parkinson era started with a 1-0 League One loss at Wycombe Wanderers.
New Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson has admitted that Jon McLaughlin’s dip in form was the reason behind his decision to drop the Scotland international for his Black Cats managerial debut on Saturday, speaking to the Northern Echo.
Parkinson certainly didn’t wait around to make a huge call as Sunderland travelled to League One high flyers Wycombe Wanderers.
McLaughlin was arguably the club’s best performer in 2018/19 and he had started all 11 league games so far this season too, until the former Bolton coach decided to put Ryan Burge between the sticks instead in his first match after replacing Jack Ross.
Burge failed to stop Sunderland from slipping to a 1-0 loss at Adams Park but there was nothing he could do about Darius Charles’ winner. And with McLaughlin’s displays leaving plenty to be desired during an error-prone start to the campaign, the one-time Coventry stopper could be about to keep his place for the long-term.
“I thought Lee did very well. I looked at the games prior to coming in and Lee had done very well while Jon had dipped below what he is capable of. We’ve got good competition in that position, but to say Lee is number one at this stage is too early,” said Parkinson, who also worked with McLaughlin at Bradford City.
“When you get left out it’s about conducting yourself in the right way and Jon certainly did that, so credit to him.”
Parkinson’s decision to drop one of Ross’s go-to men shows that reputation counts for nothing in this new era at the Stadium of Light and Sunderland’s other under-performing big-names, such as Will Grigg and Lynden Gooch, will know that they have to raise their game if they don’t want to join McLaughlin on the bench.