Tony Mowbray says Nathan Bishop has the ideal temperament for a number two goalie – but accepts that one day he will want to make the step up to first choice at Sunderland or move on. Bishop joined the Black Cats from Manchester United in August as backup for established number one Anthony Patterson.
The 24-year-old replaced Alex Bass in that backup role, with Bass having spent last season as Patterson’s number two before opting to join AFC Wimbledon on a season-long loan this summer, and he has immediately established himself as the Dons’ regular keeper. Bishop has made just one appearance for Sunderland so far, in the Carabao Cup in August, and has spent most of his time as an unused substitute during the club’s Championship campaign.
That takes a certain kind of temperament and Mowbray says Bishop has that quality, although at some point the former Southend United man will either want to play regularly for Sunderland if Patterson leaves, or else follow in Bass’ footsteps and look elsewhere to further his career. “Nathan is an amazing professional footballer, he has an amazing voice, he drives everybody in training, he’s constantly on at defenders to get up or get across or clear it,” said Mowbray.
“I find it difficult and think ‘how can you be so positive every day when you know you are not going to play on Saturday?’ But that’s the life of a number two goalie.
“I said to him the other day, at some stage over the next few years – not now, because you are only six months in the building – you have to get your career going, you have to play.
“If Anthony Patterson is staying here and continues to do well and you aren’t playing, I expect you at some stage to knock on my door and say ‘what do you think?’ But at this moment, he’s very very happy, he’s very positive.”
Bishop has been on Sunderland’s bench for every Championship fixture bar one this season, missing the trip to Swansea City at the beginning of November because his partner was due to give birth. In his absence, 16-year-old Matty Young was on the bench as backup for Patterson, although Bishop returned to the squad for the home win against Birmingham City ten days ago.
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