David Moyes will look to use more of the club’s younger players in the Championship but he is reluctant to throw too many in at the deep end this season.
The Sunderland boss handed George Honeyman, 22, a start in the 2-0 win over Hull City with in-demand 23-year-old Jordan Pickford again excelling in goal.
Honeyman is expected to keep his place for the visit of Swansea City this weekend but 18-year-old trio Joel Asoro, Josh Maja and Elliot Embleton won’t be rushed into first team action.
The Under-23 trio were all part of the travelling squad to the KCOM Stadium but they didn’t make the matchday squad.
Moyes admits he doesn’t feel teenage strikers Asoro and Maja are ready to be starting Premier League games but says he may try and get them minutes from the bench in the final three games.
The younger generation are expected to have more opportunities next year as the club battles to win promotion at the first attempt.
With nothing riding on the final three games some fans had called for more of the Under-23 players to be given a chance but Moyes insists his focus is on building on the win over Hull and finishing strongly.
When asked whether more of the club’s younger players will be given a chance this season, Moyes said: “I don’t know what people mean by more of the young players.
“I want to win the games and I really don’t think lads like Maja or Joel are ready to start Premier League games.
“I might try and give them minutes. Even Didier Ndong is a young player whichever way you look at it, there’s Donald Love, George Honeyman.
“I think we’re giving young players a chance.
“All the young players were at Hull City and I want them to see what it is looking like because a lot of them will be involved next season.”
Maja has scored 11 goals in 22 starts for the Under-23 side this season, with Elliott Dickman’s side set to host Porto in the final of the Premier League International Cup later this month.
Asoro has also impressed for the second string, scoring six goals while highly-rated Embleton has again been involved in the England youth set-up.
Honeyman did well at Hull, with Moyes confirming he is one appearance away from triggering a contract extension at the Stadium of Light.
Moyes said: “We want to build and we’ve got a few good young players.”
Relegated Sunderland host Swansea City on Saturday before away trips to Arsenal and Chelsea in the final week of the campaign.