It’s been a disappointing week or so for Sunderland.
Three straight defeats to Mansfield in the FA Cup, Fleetwood in the EFL Trophy, and MK Dons in League One, have understandably left Black Cats fans far from happy.
As a result, the pressure is now mounting on manager Phil Parkinson once more, and as he searches for results, the Black Cats boss may be forced to think outside the box for potential answers to his problems.
One option could be to turn to the club’s academy to look for sparks of inspiration for the senior side, and with that in mind, we’ve taken a look here, at two Sunderland youngsters the club’s fans may want to keep an eye on in the next few months.
Although he linked up with Sunderland’s Under 23s side after joining in the summer, Hawkes aleady has plenty of senior experience to call upon.
The 21-year-old midfielder has already made 61 appearances and scored 12 goals for Hartlepool at National League level, so he ought to be confident about taking any chance he might get in the senior side for Sunderland.
Indeed, with Premier League duo Leeds and Newcastle also linked with Hawkes this summer, it seems that he does possess the potential to play at a very high level in the future, meaning he could make an impact for Parkinson if he brings him into the Black Cats’ senior setup.
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Another player within Sunderland’s Under 23s setup who could possess Premier League potential, is Ollie Younger.
The 21-year-old centre back started out his career in Burnley’s youth ranks, even earning himself a place on the bench for one Premier League game in February 2018.
That shows the sort of expectation and confidence there is in Younger, who also joined Sunderland this summer, who could become something of a useful asset for the club in the future, if he can convert that promise that took him so close to such a big opportunity at Burnley.