The downside of the benefit clubs gain from an inspired loan signing is replacing the temporary hero when he goes back home.
Bolton and Sunderland both relied heavily on the goals of Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck respectively last season and would have loved to have kept them.
In their absence, it has not been immediately apparent where the goal that might keep them up could come from, but the Black Cats looked the more likely to adapt as they deservedly inflicted a sixth successive home defeat on the Wanderers.
The key factor on Saturday was the performance of Stephane Sessegnon, the forward signed from Paris St Germain midway through last season.
Steve Bruce deployed him in a wider role than usual, from which he scored one goal and set up another in the decisive last 10 minutes of the match.
An even better omen for the future was a highly promising full Premier League debut from Connor Wickham, the 18-year-old striker signed from Ipswich last summer for an initial £8m. He played with persistence and growing confidence as Sunderland steadily improved over the course of the match.
"I think we've all witnessed what an outstanding talent he is," said Bruce. "You forget that he could still play for our youth team. It was important to give him his chance and he was ready for it."
For Bolton, the cupboard looks considerably more bare. Without Sturridge's pace, they are carrying little threat up front. Even the old warhorse, Kevin Davies, is starting to look weary and off the pace, as he spends less time on the field. The wide men, Chris Eagles and Martin Petrov, who can be such a strength on a good day, such as at Wigan last week, were thoroughly out of touch and only Darren Pratley seriously threatened a goal.
Their dreadful home record – they are the only side in the four divisions without a point there this season – is becoming a real concern.
"We know the margins in this league between a number of teams like ourselves, and that second half wasn't good enough," said Owen Coyle.
The Bolton manager admitted that too many of his players were below par – and his other options do not look particularly tempting. Has anybody out there got a Daniel Sturridge they don't need for a couple of months?
Booked: Sunderland Turner, Sessegnon, Colback
Man of the match: Sessegnon
Referee M Jones (Cheshire)
Attendance 24, 349Reuse content