What is next for the four players released by Sunderland this week?
Sunderland confirmed this week that youngsters Mikael Mandron, Liam Agnew, Martin Smith and Dylan McEvoy will leave the club when their contracts expire this summer.
Mandron and Agnew both made substitute outings for the first team, while Smith had been on the bench, yet they now have to consider their careers elsewhere after being released.
But where are the quartet likely to end up this summer?
After unconvincing spells at Fleetwood Town, Shrewsbury Town and Hartlepool United, Football League clubs will be wary of taking a chance on Mandron when funds are limited.
Targetman Mandron netted just two goals during his three loan exits, with concerns over his physicality during his two months at League Two Hartlepool earlier this season.
Scottish side Partrick Thistle have been keeping tabs on Mandron for several months and were interested in taking the 21-year-old on loan earlier this season.
But it is understood that Mandron’s camp are now looking at overseas options for the French-born striker, who was brought to Sunderland at the age of 16 during the summer of 2011.
League One high-fliers Bradford City were in talks with a free transfer for Agnew after the holding midfielder impressed boss Phil Parkinson during a game on trial for the Bantams reserves.
Agnew has enjoyed two separate week-long spells training with the Yorkshire club, however, it is understood that the 21-year-old’s chances of moving to Valley Parade have now dimmed.
He impressed non-league Boston United during a loan spell with the National League North outfit earlier in his career, yet the Sunderland Under-21s skipper will hope to secure a move to a Football League club.
Certainly, Agnew has the ability to play league football after being one of the most consistent performers for the Under-21s over the last two years.
Workaholic midfielder Smith made a couple of first-team appearances when he first joined Carlisle United on a loan spell until the end of the season, yet hasn’t even made the bench over recent games.
However, Carlisle boss Keith Curle had been paying close attention to Smith prior to his move to Brunton Park and believes there is potential once he acclimatises to the cut and thrust of League Two.
“I’ve watched him a lot recently and I’ve seen something in him where I think I can take him to the next level,” said Curle after Smith signed on loan last month.
Carlisle would be an ideal move for the 20-year-old, with National League Premier Division outfit Gateshead not thought to have retained any interest in him after he spent time on loan at the International Stadium earlier this season.
The left-back has never really been involved for Sunderland U21s this season after penning his one – and only – professional contract with the Black Cats last summer.
McEvoy has spent the majority of the campaign on loan at Boston United after becoming the latest in a long line of Sunderland youngsters to join the non-league outfit on a temporary stint.
A permanent switch to the Lincolnshire side looks by far McEvoy’s most likely destiny, even though he has been coy over the potential move after confirmation of his release by Sunderland.
“I’m playing for a contract, whether at Boston or somewhere else, but I haven’t really thought about it (next season),” he said.