After appointing Lee Johnson less than a week ago, Sunderland’s new technical director Kristjaan Speakman could be about to deliver another masterstroke.
According to The Athletic, the Black Cats could soon have a new academy lead in Mike Dodds, who is currently the Head of Professional Development Phase at Championship outfit Birmingham City.
It’s claimed that the Dodds has been lined-up to follow Speakman to the north-east despite the club reshuffling their academy system in the past few days.
The pair have played a huge part in developing some of City’s brightest players, most notably Jude Bellingham, who secured a £25m move to Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
You also have the likes of Nathan Redmond, Jack Butland and Demarai Gray in years gone by.
Earlier this year, the SAFC chief lauded Dodds, he said:
“In Mike, we have someone who is an exceptional coach with a deep understanding of player development and the pathway through to the senior squad.
“The combination of him and our lead coaches at each age group really strengthens our programme moving forward.”
Sunderland have been looking for a new Academy Manager ever since the departure of Paul Reid back in July this year and a move for Dodds not only makes a ton of sense but would also provide major encouragement for the future.
The Black Cats never truly profited from players like Josh Maja, so getting in someone who has consistently delivered is the right way to go about it.
Johnson has plenty of young hopefuls amongst his first-team ranks, namely Jack Diamond and Elliot Embleton, so getting the appointment right for the Academy of Light should be high on the agenda.
The League One giants really should look no further than Dodds. It would be another masterclass from Speakman having already delivered Johnson.