Sport Johnson must unleash 'perfect' Sunderland starlet, he could thrive in the play-offs - opinion
Sunderland graduate saw value rise by £15.5m after leaving, he's a "manager's dream" - opinion
Jordan Henderson has become an England and Liverpool star since departing Sunderland.You can hardly blame them, however, when you consider the rather questionable ownership of Stewart Donald.
Having seen him impress for Sunderland’s U23 side so far this season, Lee Johnson should unleash Josh Hawkes over the coming weeks in a bid to help his side secure promotion from League One.
Havinglast summer – a club where the attacking midfielder scored and registered over 63 appearances – Hawkes has so far made just for Johnson’s first team, with the 22-year-old playing the full 90 of the club’s 2-1 defeat to Fleetwood Town in the EFL Trophy back in November.
However, over his 17 Premier League 2 appearances for Elliott Dickman’s Sunderland U23 team, Hawkes has been in sensational form, baggingand providing for the development side.
'Start to get a little bit excited' - Kevin Phillips ecstatic as £60m Sunderland claim emerges
Former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has revealed his excitement after a recent report suggested that new Black Cats owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus is willing to spend £60m this summer if the club earns promotion to the Championship. Phillips loves Louis-Dreyfus news Louis-Dreyfus recently purchased Sunderland from former owner Stewart Donald, a move which delighted many of […]Louis-Dreyfus recently purchased Sunderland from former owner Stewart Donald, a move which delighted many of the Wearside outfit’s fans (Roker Report).
And, in a recent interview with, Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips discussed his admiration for the youngster, stating his excitement at the potential Hawkes appears to possess, as well as calling for Johnson to involve the midfielder in the first team setup going forwards.
He said: “He is at the perfect age to come into the first team. Only Lee Johnson can make that decision but I would expect him to be involved next season. They need to start blooding these young talented players.
“His numbers for the U23s speak for themselves and I am sure he has the potential to make an impact next year. I am sure he is being talked about in meetings at the training ground.”
Indeed, with Sunderland’s form havingin recent weeks, there would appear to be no better time to inject a shot of youth into the team, as Hawkes clearly has the ability to influence games in terms of both scoring and creating chances, something which could prove the difference for Sunderland in the dying moments of matches where they have been struggling to break an opponent down.
Sunderland dealt major setback in push for automatic promotion
The defender could miss the rest of the seasonHowever, in order to secure a top-two finish in League One, the Black Cats will need to overcome their recent blip in form which has seen them lose ground on rivals Peterborough United and Hull City.
This has been the case for the Black Cats in all of their last six fixtures, as, despite dominating against, , , , and , Sunderland have managed to pick up just three points.
And, with Johnson’s sidewith three fixtures of the regular season to go, the 39-year-old has a very clear opportunity to afford Hawkes some minutes ahead of their play-off fixtures, as he could be a game-changer in those crucial matches.
In other news:
Ryan Lowe makes claim about Lee Johnson’s position ahead of Plymouth’s clash with Sunderland .
Plymouth Argyle manager Ryan Lowe has admitted he would not want to be in the position his Sunderland counterpart Lee Johnson finds himself in at this moment in time. Sunderland face Lowe’s Plymouth side at Home Park on Saturday afternoon, having failed to win any of their last seven games. That run has ended the […]Sunderland face Lowe’s Plymouth side at Home Park on Saturday afternoon, having failed to win any of their last seven games.