Why Benji Kimpioka was substituted early against Norwich Under-23s as Sunderland consider loan move for forward

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Sunderland are still considering whether to send Benji Kimpioka out on loan after the forward was withdrawn early during an under-23s game against Norwich.

The 21-year-old forward spent the second half of last season on loan at National League side Torquay, before returning to Wearside this summer.

Kimpioka did feature for Sunderland’s first team in pre-season but has since returned to the under-23s set-up.

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The young Black Cats were beaten 4-3 in an action-packed game against Norwich on Friday, with defender Jonathan Tomkinson heading home a late winner for the visitors at the Academy of Light.

Benji Kimpioka playing for Sunderland against Harrogate during pre-season.Benji Kimpioka playing for Sunderland against Harrogate during pre-season.
Benji Kimpioka playing for Sunderland against Harrogate during pre-season.

Kimpioka started the game and assisted Ellis Taylor for Sunderland’s first goal, yet the former was replaced just five minutes after half-time for precautionary reasons.

Sunderland boss Lee Johnson has previously said the club are likely to seek another loan move for Kimpioka this season.

When asked about the chances of the player moving before Tuesday’s deadline, Sunderland Under-23s head coach Elliott Dickman told the Echo: “If that is something that the senior staff within the club want for Benji then we’ll fully support that.

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“Today he took a little knock on the ankle so it’s just making sure he’s ok if anything does materialise for him.”

The young Black Cats have now lost two of their opening three games in Premier League 2, Division 2, this season, conceding 10 goals in games against Fulham, Burnley and Norwich.

Taylor, Will Harris and substitute Vinnie Steels got on the scoresheet for Sunderland against Norwich, yet the side’s defensive frailties frustrated Dickman.

"I think when you give three or four goals away as we have it’s always going to be difficult to win a game of football,” he said after the match.

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“We went in at half-time 3-2 down and then second half we did ok and did well to get back in the game at 3-3.

“For me we need to be better at seeing the game out, we need to be better at managing the game and we need to be better at making sure they don’t score in the last minute.

“It happened against Fulham a couple of weeks ago and it happened again today.

“We are conceding far too many goals and we need to become a lot harder to play against.”

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