Pete Sixsmith was at Glanford Park for Scunthorpe United 0-0 Sunderland. “As inspiring as an Ed Sheeran album” was his slightly harsh (but on whom?) seven-word verdict.
What matters was not so much one pre-season performance as the arrival of more new players and the absence of another.
Aiden McGeady – could he our new Jan Kirchhoff? – made his first start for Sunderland and the club confirmed the signing of the Bournemouth winger Lewis Grabban on a season-long loan and the purchase of Blackburn’s keeper Jason Steele.
Our Oscar – Mr Chamberlain if you wish to be polite – offers his customarily detailed report at safc.com. It wasn’t a great game, it seems, but there were chances and excellent saves at both ends.
But where was Jeremain Lens, the star of every friendly he has played in?
Let us hope James Hunter from the Evening Chronicle, or the Simon Grayson comment he quotes, is right ….
Grayson: No bids for Lens. Missing tonight due to a hip injury picked up at Bradford. #safc
— James Hunter (@JHunterChron) July 26, 2017
And that the tweets – that he is about to return to Turkey with either Fenerbahce or Besiktas – are therefore wrong. But keeping Lens would be such a coup and an inspiration that it may not be something we can seriously expect to happen.
Here, though, is the line-up news that perhaps matters a little, too, as it shows how Grayson’s thinking is developing with the need to choose his first starting XI of the Championship season just over a week away.
Scunthorpe United: Gilks, Clarke, Townsend, Wallace, Ojo (van Veen 64), Madden (Margetts 78), Morris, Bishop, Adelakun (Holmes 78), Burgess, McArdle (Goode 78).
Subs not used: Watson, Hopper, Sutton, Wootton.
Sunderland: Ruiter, Matthews, Galloway (Jones 71, Beadling 90), O’Shea, Kone, Gibson (Cattermole 60), Embleton (Ndong 60), Honeyman, Asoro, McGeady (Khazri 60), Vaughan (Love 71).
Subs not used: Mika, E Robson.