SUNDERLAND are planning to give young winger Tom Watson a first-team start in the run-in.
England youth-capped Watson, 16, has been in squads but is pencilled in for some game time by Tony Mowbray, along with fellow youngster Chris Rigg.
AlamyTony Mowbray could hand more game time to exiting prospects Tom Watson and Chris Rigg[/caption]
GettyRigg has already played for the Sunderland first team[/caption]
Watson has impressed at the club’s youth levels this season, firing in four goals and making four assists in 11 U18 Premier League games.
He has also made the step to the Premier League 2, in which he has scored once and assisted three goals in six appearances.
Watson is able to play as a left-winger or as a central striker.
The midfielder has already caught the eye of rivals Newcastle United.
The Magpies were linked with a move for Rigg in January as they hope to fill their academy with players with the potential to break into the first team.
Newcastle also think they have one advantage to signing him, as Rigg’s dad has been revealed to be a supporter of the St James’ Park side.
Sunderland remain in the hunt for a spot in the playoffs, but after winning one of their last five games, they have dropped off the pace.
The Black Cats are now seven points and five places behind sixth-placed Millwall.
Should the club fall further behind, then it could benefit the youngsters as there will be less pressure on the team.