More Sunderland players set to leave on loan as coach explains development strategy
Sunderland are set to send more players out on loan this month – which will also provide opportunities for the club’s scholars to play for the under-23 side.
While some players in the under-23 set-up have been needed in the first-team squad, the Black Cats have recently allowed striker Will Harris and midfielder Stephen Wearne to join Barrow and Torquay on loan respectively.
Both Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson and Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman have talked about the need to get players more game time in a senior environment.
As a result, the age of the Black Cats’ under-23 side has dropped, with the next group of youngsters stepping up a level.
While that will provide challenges for under-23s coaches Mike Dodds and Michael Proctor, they understand the reasoning behind Sunderland’s development strategy.
Despite some players being unavailable, the young Black Cats recorded a comfortable 2-0 win over Reading in Premier League 2, Division 2, with new signing Nicky Gyimah and Tyrese Dyce scoring the goals.
When asked if he expects more players to leave on loan this month, Dodds told the Echo: “Yeah probably if I’m completely honest with you.
“I think some of those players who are slightly older, the club need to know if they can make the next step.
“Although it is going to make the 23s group young, it is kind of a two-way thing.
“We’ve got to find out if these boys from the 18s can step up, then on the flip side the club want to know if those older players can go and play men’s football.
“I think there will be more that go out and from now until the end of the season it will be a young side, but that in itself will help the club in the long run.
“I thought Caden Kelly (18) was very good tonight, who is a scholar, Henry Fieldson (16) and Zak Johnson (17) are all scholars. I thought they were really, really good.
“Obviously players leaving out on loan gives those younger ones opportunities and as staff we are looking at those younger ones to see if they can make the step up.”