The manager of Sunderland elaborates on his strategy for incorporating additional academy prospects into the team during the last few weeks of the season.

Mike Dodds suggests that there could be chances for Sunderland’s top young talents to feature before the season concludes, reiterating that playing time will be based solely on merit. With little at stake in the last five matches, beginning with a challenging match against Leeds United on Tuesday, the interim head coach emphasizes his dedication to providing opportunities for young players, as evidenced by his trust in Chris Rigg in recent weeks. However, Dodds emphasizes that his current priority is to finish the season with a string of positive results.

Dodds emphasized the significance of regular training sessions for the younger players, highlighting its crucial role in their overall development.


Mike Dodds: “I want to win every game”


“My expertise lies in nurturing players, and I believe I’ve demonstrated my commitment to this with Chris Rigg. I entrusted Chris with his debut against Leicester and fielded him against Southampton – both formidable opponents with Premier League resources. Without boasting, I’ve proven my willingness to deploy young talents in significant matches. Integrating youth into the team is a principle I firmly stand by. They will be given opportunities, as the door is open for them. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance. Ensuring the right environment for their development is paramount. Certainly, following a heavy defeat like the recent 5-1 loss, wouldn’t be conducive for a young player’s growth.”

“Earning the privilege to represent this esteemed football club holds utmost importance; it’s not something that can be handed out freely,” Dodds emphasized.

“I’ve mentioned in previous press briefings that I don’t view the final five games as an experimental phase. My aim is to secure victories in these matches. While recent results haven’t aligned with my aspirations, I won’t use these last few games as a mere testing ground. Any opportunities given will be entirely merit-based.”

“The return of several senior players has intensified competition within the squad in the past week. As evidenced by Abdoullah Ba being omitted from the squad for the 0-0 draw against Bristol City on Saturday.”

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