Marc McNulty just never got going in League One – but the Sunderland flop has been reborn since re-uniting with Jack Ross at Hibernian in Scotland.
Marc McNulty cannot stop scoring under Jack Ross. And the irony of that particular statement will not be lost on anyone of a Sunderland persuasion.
After all, it was Ross who brought McNulty to the Stadium of Light last summer, signing the Reading striker on loan for the season. But it has taken a change of scene, for both manager and striker, for the partnership to really start to get going.
McNulty reunited with Ross north of the border at Easter Road in January, cutting short his loan spell after Phil Parkinson, who took over at Sunderland in October, made it clear that Charlie Wyke was to be his first-choice number nine on Wearside.
But with four goals in his last two games for Hibernian, including a hat-trick in Saturday’s Scottish Cup thrashing of BSC Glasgow, Black Cats fans might be wondering why McNulty made finding the net look like such a chore in red and white.
In 21 Sunderland matches, McNulty scored just five times after all.
“The early signs are good,” Ross told the Record after the 27-year-old hit the target again on Wednesday in a comfortable 3-0 triumph over Ross County. “You can’t be anything but pleased.”
With Sunderland going from mid-table mediocrity under Parkinson to genuine automatic promotion challengers in the blinking of an eye, even the most pessimistic Wearsider would struggle to find something to complain about right now.
But the sight of McNulty scoring goals for fun as Ross punches the air from the touchline leaves a rather sour taste in the mouth.