League One experience will be vital for Jack Ross this season but he is set to hand a number of youngsters the chance to impress in pre-season.
Ross added Jon McLaughlin and Chris Maguire to his ranks yesterday, with both players set to meet their new team-mates when the squad convenes tomorrow.
The new Sunderland boss spoke at his unveiling of the need to build a squad around players who understand what it takes to challenge for League One honours, and McLaughlin has won promotion to the Championship with Burton Albion.
Maguire suffered a difficult season with Bury but impressed at Oxford United under the gaze of Black Cats Chairman Stewart Donald.
That experience will be crucial for Ross but he is also eager to develop the club’s young talent as he seeks to realise his vision of high tempo, attacking football.
That will offer opportunities to impress in pre-season, particularly as the Scot continues to build his squad.
Andrew Nelson is one player who Ross will be eager to watch closely, after the 20-year-old impressed in the Scottish Championship with Falkirk.
Falkirk are one of a number of teams north of the border who would be interested in a loan move should Nelson be made available, but Ross will make an assessment after working with him at the Academy of Light.
Sunderland’s striking options are currently limited, with new signing Maguire expected to feature largely as a second striker or wide option.
The only other centre-forwards on the books as pre-season begins are Joel Asoro and Josh Maja, with significant doubts over the long-term futures of both.
They have just one year left to run on their contracts and are yet to commit to an extension.
Ross is keen on former AFC Wimbeldon striker Lyle Taylor but the 28-year-old has a number of options and is yet to make a decision.
Nelson told safc.com earlier this month that he has improved as a player while on loan and hopes for an opportunity next season.
“People used to think I was quite raw and if someone told me to run into a brick wall I would, I still would!
“But now that I have got older and experienced senior football then I have a bit of calmness about myself.
“I have gained better awareness, better spacial awareness, all those things have come together and have made me a better player.”
“They [youngsters] proved that in the Wolves game, we have something about us, as long as we get used in the right kind of way and get exposed to it in the right kind of way that we can be effective,” he added.
“Hopefully that is something I will be aiming to do when we go back in.
“I could be given an opportunity this year, I don’t see why not.”