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FIVE players that Sunderland supporters will see more of next season - whether relegated or not

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As it looks increasingly nailed on that Sunderland will be dropping down a division, which players are likely to feature in more prominent roles next season?

Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images

Luke Molyneux

Molyneux is definitely a wildcard to be involved more next season as he continues his development with the Under 23 side. Another player born in Durham, the local lad’s talent could well be on show next term if he keeps up his current form for our second string.

The winger usually operates on the right but has been known to play on the opposite flank or as a number ten.

He has shown an eye for goal at times, with a number of long range efforts finding the back of the net.

His double on Sunday to defeat Everton at the Stadium of Light has surely gone some way to further increasing his chances of first-team involvement down the line, particularly as our current senior wingers aren’t exactly excelling in any way, shape, or form.

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - Premier League 2
Luke Molyneux bagged a brace for the Under 23 side on Sunday.
Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Josh Maja

After growing up in London, the young striker arrived on Wearside on a two-year scholarship before signing his first professional contract in 2016.

It’s fair to say Josh Maja officially announced himself to the Sunderland faithful with his winner against Fulham in December. The sheer sense of relief around the ground when he ended our home hoodoo was unforgettable.

Since that game, Maja hasn’t exactly kicked on as he still has just the solitary goal to his name. The arrival of Ashley Fletcher on loan from Middlesbrough seems to have halted his progression into the first team, with his chances now limited further down the pecking order.

As Fletcher will return to his parent club following the conclusion of this season, Maja will be the only out and out striker in our ranks. Unless Mr Short gets his wallet out or sells up then Coleman (or whomever is in charge at that point) will have little choice but to blood the forward in and make him an integral part of his plans going forward.

Livingston v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly
We could be seeing a lot more of Josh Maja next season, hopefully in a nicer kit though.
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Joel Asoro

Joel Asoro originates from Sweden and has now made nine appearances for their Under 21 side, despite being just 18 years old. In the past, some of Europe’s biggest clubs have been named as potential suitors for the striker but none have proven concrete.

This lad really does have pace to burn, which often has led to him being utilised on the wing as we have a severe lack of athleticism in our ageing squad.

The link up play between himself and fellow striker Josh Maja has looked promising at times, and will hopefully flourish next season, no matter which division we find ourselves in.

Asoro has two goals for the first team so far this season - both of them great finishes in games against Hull City and Middlesbrough.

The biggest issue with the pacey forward is whether or not we can keep hold of him in the summer. Let’s just hope if he does go, we get a decent amount and reinvest.

Sunderland v Reading - Sky Bet Championship
Let’s hope we can keep hold of this lad.
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images,

Ethan Robson

Houghton-le-Spring born Robson joined the Lads at the age of eight and has never looked back since, signing his first professional contract in 2014.

Despite only making a handful of appearances this season, the central midfielder has definitely caught the eye of many fans, in particular with his performance against Hull.

Robson - an experienced member of the Under 23s setup - has proven he can hold his own in the middle of the park whilst having an eye for a pass, a department in which we are currently lacking.

If he can look good against Championship teams this year, the you’d like to think his performances would improve further next season, especially if we are relegated.

Hibernian v Sunderland - Pre Season Friendly
Ethan Robson has impressed when called upon this season.
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Elliot Embleton

Durham-born Embleton could well see himself linking up with Under 23s teammate Ethan Robson in the middle of the park for Sunderland next season. He claims to base his playing style on that of Cesc Fabregas but has become accustomed to playing a number of midfield roles, from sitting in front of the back four to a number ten.

Embleton replaced Lynden Gooch late on in the 0-0 draw away to Wolves earlier this season to make his professional debut after finding himself on the bench on multiple occasions under David Moyes.

It would be nice, and much-needed, to see a young lad replace the ageing Lee Cattermole at the heart of our midfield. Although I’m not expecting a swift retirement from the former Wigan Athletic man, it is absolutely crucial he doesn’t start the majority of games next season, not after the horror show that has been 2017/18.