GUS Poyet insists every new arrival at Sunderland this summer has been given a clear indication of their place in his plans.
Four of the nine new signings at the Stadium of Light are yet to start a Premier League game for the Black Cats, although Poyet admits both midfielder Jordi Gomez and full-back Billy Jones are pushing hard for inclusion.
But the head coach doesn’t expect an orderly queue forming at his door after making a deliberate attempt during his managerial career to give any new signing an accurate picture over how much they are likely to be involved.
He told SportMail: “I think that’s the best thing with us.
“When it comes to players, we are very honest and explain what they’re going to get. And if they don’t want to come...
“It’s fair. If you want me to tell you what you want to hear, that’s not me.
“Every player has a different situation. I had a player coming to Brighton and remember saying to him that he’s going to play four or five games.
“Now, in the five games if he does nothing, he’s going to have a problem.
“But he didn’t come because he wanted to play 46 games.
“That’s okay. But it was clear.
“I told him the quantity of games he had to prove himself and he decided not to come. Fair enough.
“With (Coates) for example, he was there at Liverpool and he was in a position where it didn’t look great for him.
“Now it’s better for him because (Valentin) Roberge has gone. That means we’ve got three centre-halves and Santi (Vergini).
“He’s going to have a great chance to challenge.”
Jones impressed Poyet in training last week, while Gomez made a positive contribution when he was introduced from the bench in last weekend’s draw against Spurs.
Both could be handed a chance in Saturday’s trip to Burnley.
And Poyet stresses that with injuries and suspensions inevitably on the horizon, there will be a chance for every member of the squad to make their mark.
“You know how games are. Last year, we played three games over Christmas with Roberge and (Modibo) Diakite at centre-half,” added Poyet.
“They were professional and we won one and drew one. And maybe those four points were the difference in staying up.
“But if you’d said we would be without John (O’Shea) and Wes (Brown) a month before...
“The idea here is to use the players, and make them the best they can be.
“And then the season will tell us whether we are good enough or not.”
– CHRIS YOUNG