Sunderland boss Simon Grayson is hoping some of the club’s youngsters can play a key role as they bid to pull clear of the Championship relegation zone.
The Black Cats have struggled following relegation from the Premier League and are currently second bottom of the standings after picking up just one win from their opening 11 league games.
There have been some positives for Sunderland, however, most notably the impressive displays of youngsters George Honeyman and Lynden Gooch.
With long-term injury absentee Duncan Watmore now back in the fold after over nine months out and fellow forwards Josh Maja and Joel Asoro also waiting in the wings, Grayson is hopeful the club’s youngsters can play a major role during the rest of the season.
“We’ve got different options now we have got Asoro, Watmore and Josh Maja coming back,” Grayson said.
“We will have competition for places and different types of players so it’s up to them younger players that if they do get the opportunity, they have to take it – like Lynden Gooch who has done well when he has been involved.
“He’s got a desire and a hunger to stake a claim and make a living in the game – why not try and do that in a big club like ours?”
Sunderland are next in Championship action when they host Queens Park Rangers after the international break and they will be desperate to claim victory following an eight-game winless run in all competitions.
The Black Cats are priced at 2.15 to secure all three points while a QPR win and the draw are both available at 3.40.