Chris Coleman has told Joel Asoro and Josh Maja to cherish every single moment on the pitch.
The Black Cats’ search for attacking reinforcements is yet to bear fruit, with Asoro and Maja once again set to play a prominent role when Hull City travel to the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Maja scored on his debut to secure a long-awaited home win, and, like Asoro, has been thrust into the spotlight following the departures of Lewis Grabban and James Vaughan.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Coleman explained why the demanding situation will only make the duo better players, but stated those around them must do everything they can to help them along the way.
“We have to give them all the experience we’ve got because they are young and they are learning,” said the Welshman.
“I’m sure they will be looking at it now and thinking this is a tough ask, but it’s great experience for them and they’ll be much better for this – they really will.”
He continued: “They are young players and they are going to get better.
“They have to look at it for what it is and they have to relish it, as it’s an opportunity that they may not have got in other circumstances, but this is where we are.
“They have to cherish every minute they’re on the pitch and it’s up to us to support them, not count on them.
“We have to say we know this is a tough one but we’ll get through it, we’re all in this together to help each other through and for both Josh and Joel, however many minutes they’re on for, we have to help them.”
Lamine Kone, meanwhile, won’t feature as he continues to build his fitness after returning to training.
Lamine has trained all week but he’s been out for 8-10 weeks and it’s a long time – he’s had no game time and training and playing are two different things.
“Catts was out for four weeks and had no game time up until he played last week, which was a bit early for him, but it was needs must.”
He added: “I think this game is a bit early to consider Lamine.”