Phil Parkinson reveals his plans for Benji Kimpioka amid Sunderland contract uncertainty

Phil Parkinson is hopeful that Benji Kimpioka can prove a ‘bonus’ player for Sunderland - as he prepares to hand the youngster his first start of the term.

The 19-year-old has featured on the bench in Parkinson’s early games in charge, but will be able to showcase his ability against Leicester City in the Trophy.

Kimpioka is yet to sign a new deal at the Stadium of Light having been in talks for several months, but that isn’t deterring Parkinson from handing him an opportunity.

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And having been impressed with the early impressions made by the Swede, the Sunderland chief is hopeful that Kimpioka can prove a ‘bonus’ player for the Black Cats moving forward.

Benji Kimpioka is yet to sign a new contract with SunderlandBenji Kimpioka is yet to sign a new contract with Sunderland
Benji Kimpioka is yet to sign a new contract with Sunderland

“I just feel with Benji that he’s got something about him, something different,” he said.

“He’s quick, he’s got ability and obviously we’re encouraging him to make sure there is end product with that ability as well.

“We haven’t had a great deal of time training with him, but in the bits we’ve seen he looks to affect the game and you could see when we named the team today there was a spring in his step because he wants to show all the Sunderland fans what he’s all about.

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“It would be great for us if he does become that bonus player, where maybe we didn’t expect too much and then suddenly we’ve got another attacking threat in the squad.

“With the few injuries we’ve got, we are short of attacking players.”

Kimpioka burst onto the scene last season with a string of appearances in the same competition, with Sunderland supporters excited by his potential.

And while some quarters of the fanbase have called for him to start in recent weeks, Parkinson is keen to play down the expectations on the youngster.

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“I don’t want to put any pressure on Benji at all.” he admitted.

“He’s a youngster, but he’s playing because from what we’ve seen in training he deserves to play. It’s no more than that.

“He doesn’t have to be spectacular - just give us a feel tomorrow that he’s ready to keep being involved because he’s been on the bench already.”