Phil Parkinson has this message for talented youngster Benji Kimpioka after Sunderland recall
Phil Parkinson has urged Benji Kimpioka to take his chance to impress after returning to the first-team fold on Tuesday night.
The talented youngster has seen his senior opportunities significantly limited this season as the impasse over his contract continues.
Kimpioka’s current deal expires next summer and the Black Cats are eager to protect their asset.
Jack Ross said the 19-year-old had been offered a ‘good contract’, after his agent said he would only commit if he was given guarantees about his status as a first-team player.
Young striker Lee Connelly had jumped ahead of him in the pecking order towards the end of Ross’ time in charge, but Parkinson brought him on in the closing stages of the 5-0 win over Tranmere Rovers.
He will be in the squad again for the trip to Shrewsbury Town on Saturday, with Aiden McGeady’s return from suspension offset by an ankle problem picked up by Lynden Gooch on Tuesday.
“I saw him play in the U23s on Monday night and he’d had half a session with us prior to that where I’d seen a bit of a him,” Parkinson said.
“I thought he just looked like a dangerous player, someone who could make something happen.
“He trained with us on Thursday and he’ll be in the squad for the weekend.
“It’s an opportunity for him, even though he only played for three or four minutes the other night, I told him to go and show enthusiasm, lift the crowd.
“I felt he tried to do that with the runs he made.
“When young players get a chance to train with the first team they’ve got to make a mark, if they get a chance in games they’ve got to make a statement.
“If he gets a chance at the weekend then we look forward to seeing what he can offer.”
Parkinson will continue to assess the U23 ranks in the early weeks of his tenure.
“I’ve only just started looking at Benji and the U23 players,” he said.
“My early thoughts are that we’ll need a few of them to supplement the squad. We had a group of them with us today and gradually we’ll get to know them.”