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dunne koikiJimmy Dunne and Ali Koiki were given their first starts yesterday for Sunderland and Swindon Town and reports from those covering their games have suggested that both had very good games.

Dunne was an unused substitute last week when Sunderland drew 1-1 at home against Luton; yesterday he was preferred to Jack Baldwin for their game at Scunthorpe, another game that ended in a 1-1 draw.

Covering the game for the Chronicle in the North East, Stuart Rayner said of Dunne’s performance: “It was a solid debut from the Irishman, on loan from Burnley. Dunne can best be described as an ‘old-fashioned’ central defender, which might seem like a dirty word to some purists, but those are qualities that are needed by Sunderland in the slog of mid-season where results have to be ground out, not showboated to.

“He is, though, a modern Premier League defender (although he is yet to make his top flight debut) and you do not get to be one without a bit of quality on the ball. Given time to think, there is a composure about the 21-year-old in possession, but it could not be described as over-ambitious. There was one pass out to Reece James with the outside of his boot, but none of the attempted raking passes which earned Baldwin his cheeky ‘Jackenbauer’ nickname on the Stadium of Light terraces.

“Dunne might be a Premier League defender, but he is also a Sean Dyche defender. He is more concerned with getting the job done than winning points for artistic impression.

“HIs first real involvement did not see him make contact with the ball, shepherding it behind for a goal kick, rather than trying to risk something fancy. He seemed to touch the ball as often with his head as his foot in the early stages. At 6ft 4in tall, Dunne is not a player you want to get drawn into an aerial battle with, as Newcastle born striker Lee Novak discovered when his marker beat him to the ball after 13 minutes.”

Rayner added: “Dunne looks a good addition but Ross (Sunderland manager) is no closer to finding his magic defensive formula.

Koiki, like Dunne, found himself on the bench last week, coming on for his debut midway through the second half, replacing former Claret Matty Taylor in their 2-2 draw against Lincoln. Yesterday, Richie Wellens named him in the starting eleven. ahead of Taylor and he made his mark, providing the assist for their first goal in a 2-1 win at Tranmere.

He played all but the final seven minutes when he, this time, made way for Taylor and Koiki’s performance was one that caught the eye of their local reporter Shaun Reynolds from the Swindon Advertiser.

Giving his player ratings, Reynolds gave him and one other player his highest rating of eight out of ten and said of Koiki: “Very impressive on the left wing in the first half. Good crosses and strong instinct to move the ball forwards. Would be surprised if he’s dropped after that.”

Meanwhile, Ntumba Massanka got his first start for Belgian club RWD Molenbeek and, like Koiki, claimed an assist and goalkeeper George McMahon made some big saves and kept a clean sheet on his debut for Ashton United who picked up a vital three points in a 1-0 win against FC United of Manchester.

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