Sunderland managed to make a quartet of late-window signings over the summer to help Mowbray navigate his way through what will be a very hectic first half of the season given how many fixtures are to be played before the World Cup commences.
Prior to Sunderland’s last home game against Rotherham United, they paraded their last four singings of the window at half-time, which were Amad Diallo, Abdoullah Ba, Edouard Michut and Jewison Bennette.
While they have all had time to settle in on Wearside – with Diallo getting a runout on Monday night – Smith admits that Mowbray doesn’t want to throw them into the starting lineup against Millwall this weekend.
He said: “Tony Mowbray did mention to me last week that he was reluctant to sort of throw them in against Millwall because that would be such a big shock to the system.
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“So that suggests that maybe, at a push, one or two of them will be on the bench on Saturday, but it sounds like it’s looking more towards maybe after the international break, which is high-risk.”
TIF Thoughts on Sunderland’s new signings…
Given that none of Sunderland’s new signings has much experience in English football, it would be a big test for them to be thrown in from the start against a Milwall side who are currently sitting comfortably in mid-table and just one point behind Sunderland.
It may well be expected that Diallo is the most likely to feature on Saturday at the Stadium of Light given he has experience in English and Scottish football, while he was, of course, named on the bench against Middlesbrough.
However, it is smart man-management from Mowbray to protect his new signings from certain environments and ensure that they are fully up to speed before stepping out onto the pitch, as unleashed too soon and their confidence may drop down very quickly.