Sunderland boss reveals Duncan Watmore's chances of making it a hat-trick of starts against Shrewsbury Town

Phil Parkinson hailed a ‘massive’ night for Duncan Watmore as the forward shone in Sunderland’s 5-0 win over Tranmere Rovers.

Watmore made his second league start of the season, just days after his first at Wycombe Wanderers.

He was a constant threat, scoring the opener and playing a central part in the second and third before half-time.

Parkinson believes the 25-year-old is in a ‘good place’ after coming through the thigh problems that affected the start of his campaign, and sees him as key to his gameplan in the coming weeks and months.

Duncan Watmore shone as Sunderland beat Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday night

“He’s in a good place at the moment, Duncan,” Parkinson said.

“It’s been tough for him, obviously I know all about his injury problems. But right from the first day last Thursday, I was so impressed with him as a player.

“He makes those runs in behind and stretches the opposition back four, and I think that’s key. Teams want you to play in front of them and we’ve got to get the balance right where we’re stretching the game as well.

“[Will] Grigg did that well tonight and Duncan did it as well, and that will do him the world of good.”

The Black Cats boss says it is too early to judge whether he will be able to start again when Sunderland travel to Shrewsbury on Saturday, but won’t take any risks with him in his comeback.

“We brought him off after 60 minutes on Saturday and he’s done 70 today,” he said.

“We’ll just see how he recovers and if there’s any doubt then we obviously wouldn’t put him at any risk.

“But he’s done two games now and that’s obviously massive.”

Parkinson also praised Will Grigg after he capped a fine display with his first league goal of the campaign.

“He deserved the goal tonight,” he said.

“He came on Saturday and straight away the supporters gave him a great reception, he worked hard in that second half and that’s what supporters want to see, they understand the frustration of a striker when they’re not scoring goals.

“But his all-round performance justified a goal and when he came off and got that ovation he did, he must be feeling 10-foot tall.”