Hot prospect Duncan Watmore MUST be given a chance in Sunderland’s first team next season, say supporters.
The 21-year-old forward was in fine form for the second string last season, but head coach Dick Advocaat resisted the temptation of throwing him into a relegation scrap.
Now Sunderland fans have called on Watmore – who has spent time away with England Under-20s – to be given a run of games when the 2015-16 Premier League season kicks off in August.
You made your feelings known in our annual SAFC Survey, the results of which we have been running in the Echo all week.
Watmore certainly has the pedigree, having scored six goals in his final six games for the Under-21s last year.
And nine out of 10 supporters picked him as the young player with the most potential.
Watmore’s wait for a first league appearance for Sunderland has surprised many after his form for the Black Cats saw him named U21 Premier League Player of the Year this season.
Midfielder Liam Agnew and keeper Jordan Pickford came a very distant joint second in our survey.
The player of the year was equally comprehensive too, with more than 40% of supporters voting for Romanian goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon as their POTY.
Swedish midfielder Seb Larsson came second, with 37% of the 1,300+ votes that were cast.
Lee Cattermole picked up a fifth of the votes, but the efforts of Jermain Defoe and Sebastian Coates barely registered with Sunderland fans in our survey.
The giant former Manchester City goalkeeper was the stand-out player and he certainly impressed with his consistent performances.
When it came to predicting where Sunderland will finish next season, the vast majority thought the Black Cats would finish somewhere between 11th and 17th in the Premier League.
Last season, Sunderland battled against relegation for most of the campaign before rallying to finish 16th – just three points above the drop zone.
Supporters will certainly be hoping for a more successful season, especially if Advocaat can bring in the six quality signings he thinks the squad needs.
Fewer than 2% of readers in our survey think SAFC will get relegated next year, with 13% confident of a top-10 finish.
And in order to achieve that, how much money needs to be invested in the Black Cats’ squad?
We asked and you answered.
More than half of the fans believe £40million or more is needed to improve an under-performing side, while 40% think between £30m to £40m will be enough.
Either way, an expensive summer lies ahead for chairman Ellis Short.
* See today’s Sunderland Echo for a full rundown of the results