Robbie Stockdale had hoped to give Kazenga LuaLua the chance to impress the new regime at Sunderland, but felt the late change played into Luke Molyneux’s hands.
LuaLua signed in January on a short-term deal but has struggled with persistent injuries. He was set to make his full debut against Wolves yesterda, but withdrew at the last minute due to another setback.
Academy product Luke Molyneux took his place and impressed on his full debut, providing the assist for Ovie Ejaria’s opening goal.
Stockdale said: “I think it helped him, the late change.
“I had in my mind the changes I wanted to make to give the boys exposure and their debuts. My reasons for playing LuaLua from the start (were that) he is out of contract this summer and hasn’t had a start this year.
“If anybody is watching to take over next year, I wanted to give him an opportunity to stake a claim – he hasn’t had that that much.
“With Luke, he did really well and got confident in the game, showed some nice touches and young Denver (Hume) was steady.
“There is a lot of good young players here, if we mix it with the right senior players, we have a really good chance.”
Molyneux and Hume were two of a number of youngsters to impress in the final-day win. Bali Mumba and Elliot Embleton made their first senior home appearances while Ethan Robson impressed again.