Reports: Brightwell & Stockdale Join Sunderland Youth Set-Up

Two of our better youngsters in recent years, and hopefully more to come as the youth team coaching gets an overhaul at Sunderland.

Quietly over the summer there's been changes to the backroom staff at Sunderland. We've seen the promotion of Kevin Ball from Youth Team boss to Development Squad manager, as well as the arrival of former Darlington gaffer Craig Liddle to the Youth Team coaching team.

Now it seems that there's been more changes, as revealed by existing coach Elliot Dickman in a great interview on the clubs official website.

In addition to the arrival of Liddle, former Manchester United and Hartlepool United midfielder Stuart Brightwell has joined the set-up while others on the youth side of things have been moved around to hopefully increase our youth production. Brightwell will join as a 'skills coach' with the youngsters.

Also joining the youth set-up is Robbie Stockdale, currently working with the youth team at Grimsby Town. The former Scottish international defender took the role in 2010 and has quickly garnered a solid reputation for working with youngsters.

As part of the deal which takes Stockdale to Sunderland, the club will also travel to Grimsby as part of next years preseason plans.

Lewis Dickman (surely some relation to Elliott) also joins the set-up while Mark Atkinson has moved from a scouting role to overseeing the development of players aged five to eleven years old.

The increasing numbers on the coaching side at a youth team level can only be a good thing for the club. Having recently been awarded the prestigious Category One rating, allowing us to pretty much have free-reign over picking and choosing the best young players from around the country, we need to make sure kids actually want to come to us.

With so many dedicated coaches and respected ones at that working for us in various capacities now, it would seem that we're well positioned to do just that. Roker Rookies, this is not.

The only position of need - of sorts anyway - remains the assistant managers position. John Robertson has for a long time been Martin O'Neill's favoured choice and has followed him from club to club, but still he hasn't arrived at the club, and it looks as though things will remain like that unless Robertson has an unlikely change of heart.

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