Stewart Donald set to fund fresh investment into Sunderland AFC's academy

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Sunderland AFC's academy will benefit from fresh investment over the summer months - courtesy of owner Stewart Donald.

The Black Cats' academy set-up underwent some change over the summer months, with Paul Reid appointed as Academy Manager having worked alongside Donald at former club Eastleigh.

Stewart Donald has approved fresh investment into Sunderland AFC's academy

Stewart Donald has approved fresh investment into Sunderland AFC's academy

Despite relegation to the third tier, the club's new ownership opted to continue funding a Category One academy - allowing Sunderland to continue nurturing the region's most talented youngsters.

The performances of Denver Hume, Lynden Gooch and Benji Kimpioka this term have highlighted the fine work done by the club's youth set-up, and that work is set to ramp up a notch over the summer months with Reid confirming that fresh investment will be forthcoming courtesy of Donald.

"The chairman has been vocal in the fact he wants to remain Category One and he's shown that by authorising the extra funds to bring new staff in over the summer," said Reid, speaking to Sunderland's official match day programme.

"It will help us deliver the programme we believe will suit the players and keep the standard of Category One.

"There's been a lot of change over the season and that's been difficult, especially when we are trying to ensure it doesn't affect the quality of the programme we run.

"We've got to the point now where strategically and operationally we are ready to move forward."

And while results for the club's younger sides may not have been as desired this campaign, Reid believes there are many mitigating factors to this - which ultimately could benefit individual players in the long-run.

"We've had to look at the bigger picture," he admitted.

"It's no secret the Under-18s and Under-23s have found it difficult in their league programmes.

"There are a lot of mitigating circumstances for that and the big one is that we've got players who are eligible playing in our first-team.

"We've loaned out a number of players for their long-term development too. That's left the Under-23s weak and meant we've had to play players up a level.

"It's great for the lads who have experienced that, but it's challenging and meant it's difficult to compete.

"I'd want us to be more competitive at those levels but it's about getting players out of those circles and into a first-team environment and at the minute we've got an excellent record of that."