Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips has told Declan John to make sure he is ready, as his call-up for action could come at any time.

John joined Sunderland on loan from Swansea on transfer deadline day, but is yet to even make the bench in any game since.

While working his way up to speed, John has also been victim to Sunderland's superb form, with Phil Parkinson preferring not to make changes to the starting line-up unless enforced. And while the Black Cats boss has always said John is working hard in training, he was only ever signed as back-up to regular left wing-back Denver Hume. As for on the bench, Conor McLaughlin is being preferred at this time because of his ability to play either side of the defence, or as one of the three centre-backs.

But John played in a behind-closed-doors friendly win over Carlisle on Wednesday, and club legend Phillips has outlined Alim Ozturk's opportunity after Bailey Wright's injury as the perfect motivation for the Wales wing-back.

Phillips told Football Insider: "Unfortunately, sometimes in your career, you go to a team and you think because you have come from another club and in this case a Championship club, you think you are going to start every week.

“From the time he came the club have had an upturn in fortune so it is just about patience really.

“We have seen with Bailey Wright getting injured and Ozturk coming in and doing a job that things can happen quickly, so the kid has to be ready.

“There is nothing to read into, it is just unfortunate that he has come to a team doing very well at the moment.”

Kevin Phillips

After gaining valuable game time in the friendly with Carlisle, John will be hoping to continue making a case to get into the team.

Hume was part of the side that left it late to earn a point against Fleetwood Town on Tuesday night, but it was a below par performance from the Sunderland academy graduate - as it was for many in red and white.

But reacting to the late equaliser to rescue a point, Phillips says it could be huge for Sunderland's mentality, with 11 games to go in the race for League One promotion.

He continued: “It could turn out to be a huge goal.

“The run they have been on, not to lose another football match keeps the unbeaten run going and that could turn out to be a crucial point come the end of the season.

“If they had lost last night it would have been a blow when they have got Coventry coming up at the weekend.

“It was a great finish from Max Power – instinctive. He was in the right place at the right time.”