Martin O’Neill may allow first team members to represent Sunderland Under 21s in their derby clash at the Sports Direct Arena.
David Vaughan has already represented Kevin Ball’s side in his quest to re-find fitness following a hernia problem, while Connor Wickham and Ji Dong Won may also be made available by the Ulsterman. Both strikers have dropped down the pecking order at the Stadium of Light, with the arrivals of Steven Fletcher and Louis Saha, meaning neither have seen first team action, yet.
Vaughan is eligible for the team as one of three overage players while Wickham and Dong Won are still young enough to play. O’Neill told The Sunderland Echo, “I was pleased to see David get 45 minutes under his belt for his country – for the moment he needs as many minutes on the pitch as he can get.
“He’ll come into contention for the reserves games but were continuing to monitor him and make a decision on the day.”
Sunderland triumphed over their bitter rivals at under 18 level this weekend and would welcome the increase in quality to their under 21 side.