Sunderland manager Lee Johnson has hinted at a possible loan move for goalkeeper Anthony Patterson, having declared his wish for the youngster to obtain 25 senior appearances this season.
The Lowdown: Third choice goalkeeper
The 21-year-old has made six first team appearances for the Black Cats after rising through the youth ranks at the club.
He already has started two games in League One this season, keeping a clean sheet in the 1-0 win against AFC Wimbledon, but with the arrival of Rob-Thorben Hoffmann on loan from Bayern Munich, Patterson wasn’t included in the squad for Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Accrington Stanley.
With Lee Burge and Hoffman ahead of him in the pecking order, Patterson’s desire for first team football will be strong after tasting it earlier this season, and Johnson has commented on the situation.
The Latest: National League loan
As per Chronicle Live, Johnson has stated that he intends to get Patterson 25 starts this season, indicating that he could spend the rest of the year on loan in the National League if that is what’s needed for the player to reach that target.
With players able to leave on loan to National League clubs outside the transfer window, Sunderland will be allowed to recall the goalkeeper at any time after an initial 28-day spell.
Speaking about a potential loan deal, Johnson said: “All players will get their opportunity at various points in the season.
“I think Patto is a really bright young goalkeeper, and I love him to bits in that he makes outstanding saves and his agility and reflexes are top drawer. But he is behind the other two in terms of exposure and gametime.
“I want to get all of our young players 25 starts. Once they go beyond the U23s, which you have seen now with Dan Neil, Elliot Embleton, and Patto, if you put them back in there it can be a bit regressive to their development.
“We want to get Patto those 25 games. If that’s at Sunderland, great. If not, we have the option to loan him out to the National League, which protests us because we can recall him then after 28 days if necessary.”
The Verdict: Exposure and game-time
With the quality and experience of Hoffman and Berge at the Stadium of Light, Patterson’s best chance of more first team minutes looks like it would come with a loan spell away from Sunderland.
At the age of 21, he will be hoping to get as much experience as possible if he is to potentially feature in League One or higher. Whilst there is an argument to be made he could improve under the mentoring of the other two goalkeepers on Wearside, there is no substitute for consistent first team football.
However, if he does go out on loan to the National League, it’s important that it is to the right club where he will get plenty of opportunities and isn’t likely to have his confidence dented by playing in front of a weak defence.
In other news, many Sunderland fans have reacted on Twitter to recent transfer news. Find out more here.
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