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Tony Mowbray has heaped praise on Nectarios Triantis after the defender was ‘chucked in two minutes before kick-off’ to play his part in Sunderland’s win over Birmingham.

Triantis was initially supposed to be on the bench with Dennis Cirkin named in the starting line-up, but it was the Australian who emerged from the tunnel to start the game.

Mowbray says he hopes the Cirkin injury situation in more precautionary than anything else, but he was more interested in talking up Triantis following the 3-1 win.

“He's come in and played a part in the goal and helped the team win,” Mowbray said. “I'm really pleased because he's an amazing young man.

“I don't know if he expected to come here and get straight in, but Ballard and O'Nien have done well and he's had to sit on the sidelines. He's played U21s games, we sent him on the bus to Southampton last week, seven hours each way and yet he does it with a smile on his face - he knows where he stands and what he's got to do.

"He's hopefully got a big future at this club. For him to get chucked in two minutes before kick-off was amazing and I'm so happy for him, he's such a nice kid.

“Some people not in the team can moan, groan, sulk but this kid just wants to get better. After training he just wants a big bag of footballs, improve his right foot, left foot, his heading. I'm very happy for him."

Triantis was initially credited with the second Sunderland goal in the 3-1 win, although television pictures later showed it was an own-goal by former Black Cats defender Dion Sanderson.