I think that the step up in expectation might mean that a handful of the younger lads fall further down the pecking order, but that’s OK.
All well run clubs should, as part of their development plan for their best young players, also recognise when a player needs to be playing regular football and if we can’t offer it to them, they’ll be allowed to go elsewhere.
Jewison Bennette is the prime candidate from the current crop that I think needs a move away, chiefly because of the reasons I’ve outlined already.
He’s only eighteen years old and his time will come eventually, but he won’t get any better playing ten minutes here and there. He needs to play thirty or forty games a season and he won’t get that here, so let him go somewhere else and earn his stripes.
We’re in no rush with Jewi and I think it’s easy to forget just how young he actually is.
He’s got plenty of time to make it at Sunderland and an essential part of his development is playing regularly- something I don’t think he’s ready to do just yet, given the player in front of him and keeping him out of the team is Jack Clarke.
Malc Dugdale says…
I’d agree with Gav that we may need to send Jewison Bennette away to learn more of his craft next season, but the other main candidate I’d suggest would be Joe Anderson.
I’m very hopeful that we’ll get all of our squad back to full fitness in the off season, and if that’s the case, we’ll have a good selection of options at the back.
Anderson couldn’t force his way into the starting eleven when Danny Batth, Dan Ballard and Aji Alese were injured, so it seems quite clear that Tony Mowbray doesn’t feel he’s ready for Championship football in red and white quite yet.
He made a few fleeting appearances last season but his chances of major minutes in a good sequences of games is quite low, for me.
I’d send him out to League One, which would enable his development to continue at a better rate than we’ll see with him playing U23s football and getting the odd cameo in cup games, etc.
I’m pretty confident there’s a good player in there, but a loan will confirm his potential sooner than having him kicking his heels behind some of the great defenders we’ve got coming back into contention.
Matthew Crichton says…
Given that we never really had a settled squad last season, pretty much everyone who was fit was making the bench and it was great to see each member of the squad happy and involved.
Moving into pre season, every Sunderland fan will be praying for a more injury-free campaign and I think there are four players who’d benefit from loan moves.
The first is our derby day reserve hero, Alex Bass, who played just twice last season.
Aged twenty five, Bass is very young to be a long-term second choice goalkeeper and given that we paid a fee for him, I wonder whether we’ll look to loan him further down the EFL pyramid to aid his progress.
It’s clear that Anthony Patterson is competent at this level, especially given his excellent end to the season, so it may be beneficial to sign a more experienced keeper on a free transfer who can aid Patterson’s development.
I was always worried by the prospect of having a League Two standard goalkeeper should Patterson pick up a long-term injury, so I think this is a position Sunderland should look to strengthen, and it would aid the long term progress of Bass.
I’d agree with Malcolm on Joe Anderson.
It was crystal clear that Tony Mowbray didn’t trust him to step in despite being the only fit centre back and at twenty two, it’s time for the former Everton defender to get regular minutes, not just in reserve football.
He’s on a long term contract so I believe he was ‘one for the future’, and you’d think a loan is even more likely, given our reported interest in Nectarios Triantis.
The third player on my list is Jay Matete.
Similar to the situation he was in during January, it seems unlikely that he’s going to play and given that his loan spell at Plymouth was mixed, will we be able to get the money we want?
Finally, I agree with both Gav and Malc that Jewison Bennette needs to go out on loan.
If we keep hold of Jack Clarke, there’s very little chance of the Costa Rican starting matches and I think he’d be better off playing full matches rather than twenty minute cameos here and there.
We also have the likes of Isaac Lihadji, who you’d think is more likely to get game time, so an EFL loan may just be what Bennette needs to push on!