NATHAN BISHOP’S first league start of the season was reward for him being a “model professional”, according to Sunderland's interim head coach Mike Dodds.

Anthony Patterson had started 110 league games in a row prior to this afternoon, but that run came to an end when the North-Easterner was dropped to the bench against Sheffield Wednesday.

Bishop stepped up for his first senior start since August’s Carabao Cup defeat to Crewe Alexandra, but was powerless to prevent Sunderland’s season ending on a losing note as first-half goals from Liam Palmer and Josh Windass sealed Sheffield Wednesday’s Championship survival.

Dodds said: “Anthony Patterson was touch and go for the game anyway, he'd picked up a knock in the week. But as a staff, we just made the decision over the last couple of days that Nathan Bishop (deserved to play) because he's an absolute model professional in the way he conducts himself.

“His behaviour, he comes in every single day and is one of the best trainers every time even though he knows he's probably not going to play because Patto has been so consistent.

"We've been having this conversation for a number of weeks in terms of whether we give Bishop an opportunity because we wanted to see him in a game.

“I'm not saying that Anthony Patterson is going to leave but if he continues on the trajectory he's on then I'm sure that there's going to be a huge amount of interest in him. Like a lot of the players, with players like Chris Rigg there's been a lot of 'let's see them', Tommy Watson is another example today who has been training with us and we got on the pitch today.

“Bishop deserved to play because of how he has conducted himself, and there was also an element of him needing him to play so that we could see if he could potentially be a number one for this football club somewhere down the line.”