Elliott Dickman will use tonight's Durham County Challenge Cup match against Annfield Plain as an opportunity to shuffle his pack.
Sunderland under-23s enter the local competition for the first time since 2008, with Dickman keen to expose some of the club’s youngsters to the reality of men’s football.
Annfield Plain provide the Black Cats with their preliminary round test at Eppleton Colliery Welfare tonight, kick-off 7pm, with a place in round one up for grabs.
And speaking to safc.com, the under-23s coach admitted tonight’s fixture provides the Black Cats with the perfect opportunity to change things round and test some of the younger lads in this year’s under-23s group.
“It is a good cup for us and we are going to use some players who haven’t played much football recently,” he said.
“It is a good opportunity for some of Mark’s (Atkinson) group to step up because we want our players to be playing against men.
“This competition provides us with that chance.
“As much as the Checkatrade Trophy does that for the under-23s group, with some senior players helping out, this will be with the assistance of some of the under-23s.
“It serves its purpose and we look forward to the challenges that we will face against Annfield Plain.
“We want to win at all costs and it is important to get through to the next round," he continued.
“It is a good opportunity for us to play some of the younger lads and we are looking forward to it.”