This is what Phil Parkinson said when asked about handing more opportunities to Sunderland youngsters

Phil Parkinson says Sunderland’s upcoming cup games will give his talented youngsters an opportunity to further stake their first-team claims.

Saturday, 31st October 2020, 6:00 am

There was widespread disappointment on Tuesday night when none of the academy talents that have been knocking on the door in the early stages of season were included in the matchday squad.

Jack Diamond did travel to Rochdale, but watched on as the Black Cats were held to a frustrating 2-2 draw.

Diamond had made his league debut for Sunderland a fortnight earlier, coming on as an early substitute and playing his part in an impressive 2-0 win away at Swindon.

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Jack Diamond is pushing for more first-team minutes this season

Dan Neil also impressed during pre-season, while Benji Kimpioka has been in superb scoring form for the U23s since finally resolving his contract situation and returning to the club.

The Black Cats face Gillingham and Ipswich in their next two league games, before facing Mansfield and Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup and the EFL Trophy.

Parkinson says those games will give the academy players a chance to step forward.

“They'll definitely get opportunities [in the cup games],” Parkinson said.“We've also got senior players who haven't had a great many opportunities of late, as well.

"The young players have had a reasonable integration in terms of the pre-season and the Trophy games, and there another couple coming up after the next two league games.“That will be an opportunity for some of those to get another chance and really start staking a claim.

"As I said, there are senior players waiting for a chance. Like Charlie [Wyke], who is taking his opportunity.

“Another striker may get that at the weekend at some stage, and it's up to them to take that opportunity and show that they're ready to step up to the plate."

The discussion around the club’s young players has been particularly prevalent as it is one of the reasons why Parkinson has said he will not consider a recall to the first-team squad for Aiden McGeady.

The lack of league minutes for the likes of Diamond and Neil has therefore been a source of frustration for many.

Parkinson again addressed the issue on Thursday, and pointed to the imminent return of talented youngster Elliot Embleton.

The Black Cats boss is a big admirer of the 21-year-old, who has endured a torrid year with injuries. He returned to U23 action on Monday afternoon, playing 45 minutes and registering a delightful assist as Elliot Dickman’s side ran out 5-3 winners over Fulham.

Parkinson insists there will be chances for Embleton when he is fully fit.

"Aiden at the moment has had to have an injection in his knee anyway,” Parkinson said.

“He had a spell of training with the U23s but at the moment he's in the treatment room with a similar problem to Jordan [Willis].

“As I said in the summer, we've got Elliot Embleton who is playing again today for the U23s.

“He's another player who I'm looking forward to seeing emerge for us. Unfortunately we've had to be patient with him but if he can get through today, we're expecting him in the run of games we have coming to get some minutes with the first team.”

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