SUNDERLAND are preparing to clear the decks at Academy level with a raft of young talent set to leave.
England Under-20 international Blair Adams – allowed to convert his loan to Coventry City into a permanent move last week – has already gone, while Roarie Deacon was only contracted to Sunderland until the end of 2012, and his contract has not been renewed.
Midfielder Adam Reed is understood to currently be in talks with Portsmouth over a move there, and James Armstrong has left and joined Hull City.
Craig Lynch is believed to be considering a trial at Sheffield United while Ryan Noble’s future looks uncertain as well.
Adams, Reed and Deacon would have been too old next season to be part of the development squads – as will Noble – and would have had to play in Under 21 games as over-age players.
But a key part of the change around is Martin O’Neill’s desire to fast-track through young talent that could potentially play a part in the first-team future.
Explaining his desire to let South Shields-born Adams leave last week, O’Neill said: “Blair is a good professional and a good player, but he had reached the stage of his career where he needed to be playing games, and we couldn’t guarantee him them here.
“This move is good for him and it will help his career to develop and if it does so, we won’t lose out as a club.”
O’Neill was referring to the fact that although Adams left for nothing, Sunderland have a hefty sell-on clause, and the same would apply for any moves for Lynch and Noble.