TOMMY WRIGHT paid tribute to his own new-look Darlington side for responding in the right manner by giving new Sunderland boss Jack Ross a bit more to think about.

Quakers, fielding six new players, continued their warm up for another season in National League North by beating League One new-boys Sunderland 1-0 at Blackwell Meadows.

Jordan Nicholson, one of the new recruits having previously played under Wright at Nuneaton, slotted in a cool winner in the ninth minute against a Black Cats side going through plenty of changes following back-to-back relegations.

There were promising displays across the Darlington team and they created a few more clear cut chances which could have embarrassed Sunderland further, although the visitors did have a few chances themselves.

But Darlington goalkeeper Jonny Maddison, who joined from Yeovil this summer and a former Sunderland academy player with Jordan Pickford, showed some excellent handling throughout to help erase the memory of the 5-1 defeat to Motherwell on Sunday.

Wright said: “The result was great, the fact that it’s against good opposition makes it more pleasing. Jack probably won’t be too happy with their performance but I thought it was a decent game. I think everyone goes home happy from our view.

“The keeper (Maddison) had five put past him 48 hours ago, so I think the clean sheet will do him the world of good. He has come to a new club, against the club he came through the youth system, and by making the saves he did I think he will build confidence from that.”

As well as Maddison and Nicholson, there were outings for new signings Jonny Burn, Liam Hughes, Simon Ainge and Alex Henshall emerged from the bench after the restart.

There was also a return to the side for Reece Styche after a trip abroad and he, along with former Harrogate Town man Ainge, provided a burly and testing night for the Sunderland backline.

Wright, whose side won in front of a crowd of 1,336, said: “We have brought in six players ourselves, mixed with seven or eight from last season, and that is in such a short period. It’s not like we are an established team who knows each other inside and out.

“What I think is that they all appreciate each other’s talent and want to work hard for each other and have a good season. That’s exciting for me, they are more excited than me. I think it will be a good season for us.”

Now Darlington head to Holland for a friendly with PSV Eindhoven’s second team and Wright said: “The B team of PSV, they can’t get promoted as the feeder team, they always finish fifth or six so it will be a tough one for us.

“It will also be good for team bonding, playing on a carpet of a pitch. They will obviously get the night out over there. I am excited and they might even have the World Cup final to be around as well.”