Leeds United defender joins Sunderland on trial

Sunderland have taken Leeds United defender Joe Littlewood on trial and handed the teenager a start for the under-23s side.

The young Black Cats were beaten 3-1 by Aston Villa on Monday at Eppleton CW in a match which had been rearranged from December.

Jacob Carney started in goal for Sunderland, while Ellis Taylor and Harrison Sonha also featured.

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The hosts took the lead when Taylor set up Sonha in the 32nd minute, yet Villa drew level before half-time.

Joe Littlewood playing for Leeds Under-18s.

Villa then scored twice in the second half before Nicky Gyimah missed a penalty for the hosts.

Sunderland’s under-23 side have two games remaining in Premier League 2, Division 2, this season and will host Birmingham at Eppleton CW on Monday, April 25.

The side will then face Southampton on Sunday, May 1 to finish the campaign.

Sunderland started with three trialists against Aston Villa and are expected to look at more players over the coming weeks.

Littlewood, 18, has predominantly played for Leeds’ under-18s side this season.

Winger Sam Knowles, who came through the ranks at Stoke, has also been training with Sunderland and played the full match against Aston Villa.

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Fellow wideman Michael Spellman, 19, has also been on trial at Sunderland but remains registered to Northern League side Chester Le Street.

“He’s a player that we like,” said Sunderland under-23s boss Michael Proctor last month.

“Because he’s been registered with another club it’s not something that we can do straight away so that will probably be one that we revisit in the summer.

“He can stay on a sort of a non-contract basis until the end of the season and then we can look at it again in the summer.”