One of Simon Grayson’s first pieces of business when he took charge in the summer was to bring in Everton duo Tyias Browning and Brendan Galloway on loan.
And the pair have been ever-present in the Sunderland defence since.
The calf injury suffered by Bryan Oviedo while away on international duty paved the way for Galloway to enjoy a run in the side and set down an early marker, while Browning has impressed at the heart of defence alongside Lamine Kone.
Both were part of the strong Sunderland rear guard that held off a late siege from Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Wednesday night to secure a well-earned point with the 1-1 draw.
Grayson admits Browning, 23, and Galloway, 21, still have much to learn but says neither have let him down since being given a chance.
Oviedo made his return for the Under-23 side last Friday night and has been training at the Academy of Light this week as he closes in on a return to the first team squad.
Browning is keeping club captain John O’Shea out, while Papy Djilobodji hasn’t been near the first team given the form of the former Preston North End loanee.
“Them, like a few others, will get better the more games they get,” said Grayson ahead of the visit of Leeds United.
“They are still young players and will make mistakes and they still have a lot to learn.
“Ultimately it is what they are doing at this moment in time and they have not let us down.
“Having the competition of John O’Shea and Papy Djilobodji for Tyias is pushing him to stay in the team. With Oviedo coming back, the same will be for Brendan.”