Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson reveals his transfer concern

Lee Johnson admits he fears other clubs will already be monitoring the progress of the 'frightening' talent in his Sunderland squad.
Sunderland boss Lee JohnsonSunderland boss Lee Johnson
Sunderland boss Lee Johnson

A number of youngsters in the squad have continued to go from strength to strength in the early stages of the season, with Dennis Cirkin again impressing in the 2-0 Carabao Cup win over Wigan Athletic.

Sunderland have brought down their average age considerably through their summer recruitment, as Kyril-Louis Dreyfus looks to build a model of sustainability for the club.

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Homegrown academy products have also enjoyed increased exposure, including Dan Neil and Elliot Embleton.

Johnson built a reputation for developing young talent at Bristol City and says there is no doubt clubs will be on red alert.

He added that a number of the club's youngsters still have a huge amount of room for growth in the coming months.

It's a prospect that excited the head coach as he looks to build on an encouraging start to the season.

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“I get scared on this one because it’s happened to me before where we’ve been a victim of our own success," he said.

"At Bristol City, we sold nearly £100m of players. I can smell assets.

"If you sign people with a good attitude, and you have a good set of staff like we have, then you can really improve players pretty quickly.

"I’m already starting to worry about it, if I’m honest with you, because I’ve seen it before. I’d almost rather they had a couple of bad games and send everybody off the radar! A lot of hard work went into getting them, from a lot of people.

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"Look at a player like Dennis Cirkin, I don’t even feel he’s had 15 or 20 per cent tapped into his true potential.

"What we could do with him, and what he could do with himself, is frightening. Niall’s [Huggins] the same. Then obviously you’ve got [Callum] Doyle, Dan Neil. It’s exciting times."

Sunderland are hopeful that Niall Huggins will be fit to face Bolton Wanderers this afternoon, after suffering a suspected cramp in the latter stages of the midweek win at the DW Stadium.