Sunderland defender Michael Ledger has joined Hartlepool United on a season-long loan.
The 20-year-old is the first confirmed Under-23 player to temporarily exit the club this summer with a handful of others likely to be hoping to get the chance to taste first team football elsewhere.
Ledger links up with a Pools side struggling to adapt to Conference football following last season’s relegation from the Football League. Craig Harrison’s side are currenly fourth bottom in the table but scrapped to their first win of the campaign at the weekend with a narrow victory against Guiseley.
Michael Ledger has yet to make his senior debut for Sunderland but was named on the first team bench when Liverpool visited the Stadium of Light in February.
A regular in the development squad, the Consett-born centre-half enhanced his growing reputation with a successful loan stint at Norwegian side Viking Stavanger earlier this year. Ledger made 15 appearances in the Eliteserien and returned to Wearside with praise for his performances and attitude.
After Sunderland’s U23’s were comprehensively beaten by Scunthorpe last night, Black Cats boss Simon Grayson suggested the lack of depth in his first team squad will restrict the number of fringe players and youngsters he can allow out on loan this season.
But goalkeeper Max Stryjek is expected to be confirmed at Accrington Stanley within the next 24 hours.
The Polish Under-21 stopper had been expected to join Oldham Athletic but the opportunity passed following protracted negotiations with Sunderland over who would pay his salary for the season.
Accrington have had a good start to the season in League Two, winning two and drawing one of their first four games to lift them into sixth in the table.
Stryjek will provide competition for Stanley’s number one Aaron Chapman and will be hoping to gain some league experience following his outings for the Polish Under-21 side at the recent European Championships.
The 21-year-old has previously had a loan spell at non-league Boston United and joined Sunderland in 2013 from his native Poland.
Other Black Cats youngsters including Ethan Robson and Rees Greenwood may yet follow Ledger and Stryjek out of the Academy of Light on loan deals before the transfer window shuts tomorrow night.