Sunderland youngsters Jack Bainbridge and Brandon Taylor are in contention for tonight’s clash with Gillingham, the club’s official website reports.
Phil Parkinson is being forced to use some of his academy players to fill the numbers tonight. With a number of injuries and four players away on international duty, Sunderland’s squad is depleted.
Central defence is a particular area of concern. Joel Lynch is out with a back problem while Jordan Willis has injured his knee. Meanwhile, Tom Flanagan is away with the Northern Ireland squad and Alim Ozturk has missed out with injury recently.
These selection issues could present a rare opportunity for Bainbridge and Taylor. Parkinson needs someone to fill in at centre-half and these academy prospects are in the frame.
Parkinson on Bainbridge and Taylor
Parkinson told a pre-match press conference (via safc.com): “We are taking seven or eight of the youngsters down with us and defensively we are obviously short on bodies.
“The likes of Brandon Taylor and Jack Bainbridge are included, and I am looking forward to seeing them tomorrow.”
There is no need to risk making Lynch or Willis’ injuries worse, especially with a heavy schedule coming up. It seems like the perfect time to blood Bainbridge and Taylor into the side.
Bainbridge, 21, has previously played in Everton and Swansea City’s academy and he has proven himself in the Sunderland youth teams. Taylor is just 20 but he is catching the eye with his performances.
Both players have EFL Trophy experience but this will be a whole new experience. Playing at Priestfield in the FA Cup would be an excellent learning curve for this pair.