These are the seven Sunderland youngsters set for a major opportunity as full extent of selection crisis is revealed
Phil Parkinson has urged his Sunderland youngsters to take any chance to impress against Gillingham on Tuesday night.
Parkinson will be include seven of the club’s U23 players in his travelling party as he faces up to a selection crisis on Wearside.
Jordan Willis is out after having an injection in his patellar tendon, while regular defensive partner Joel Lynch is missing with a back problem. Lynden Gooch is still missing, while Marc McNulty is out with a hamstring strain.
George Dobson is being rested to manage an ongoing issue while the clash is likely to come too soon for Charlie Wyke.
Jon McLaughlin, Conor McLaughlin, Tom Flanagan and Benji Kimpioka are all away on international duty, opening up a number of vacancies in the squad.
Goalkeeper Anthony Patterson, defenders Brandon Taylor and Jack Bainbridge, midfielders Bali Mumba and Ruben Sammut, as well as forwards Cieran Dunne and Lee Connelly, will all be part of the squad.
Parkinson could receive one boost before the game, with Alim Ozturk in with a chance of making his return from a back injury.
The Black Cats boss will name as strong a side as he can but has urged the youngsters to make an impression.
“The two obvious candidates [to play] are Jack Bainbridge and Brandon Taylor because of the defensive problems we’ve got,” Parkinson said.
“I think that when the younger players come to work with the first team lads, they lift the enthusiasm level because they’re so desperate to be involved, especially the older lads, someone like Jack Bainbridge, you want the thrust of league football or FA Cup football.
“So you see that determination when they come over to say, ‘give me that opportunity.’
“You look at Ruben, for example, he’s trained with us, he can handle the ball, he’s confident in his own ability.
“He’s played in a very, very good Chelsea team when you look at the compnay he was in and how they’ve gone on.
“I’ve watched on wyscout him playing against Lincoln in the Checkatrade the year before last when he was there and he handled that well, so there’s players there who are chomping at the bit to get involved.”