PHIL PARKINSON has revealed Sunderland will have to give youth its chance in tomorrow night’s FA Cup replay at Gillingham because of a defensive crisis.

The Black Cats, who had looked in to getting the first round tie postponed because of international call-ups, have now learned that Jordan Willis and Joel Lynch will miss out through injury.

That means Sunderland, without Northern Ireland duo Tom Flanagan and Conor McLaughlin at the back already because of call-ups for their country, will be turning to Under-23s defenders Jack Bainbridge and Brandon Taylor at Priestfield.

Parkinson also has a number of other selection issues to deal with, but expects to be able to call on striker Will Grigg after his recovery from illness.

The Sunderland boss said: “We had hoped to get the tie done and dusted in the first game, we had a couple of chances to see Gillingham off but we conceded a poor goal and we head down there tomorrow night. We are looking to win and get in to round two.

“Players are not going to make the Gillingham game. Lynch has had an injection in his back, Jordan Willis has had one in his knee, they won’t make it.

“George Dobson will be rested with an ongoing problem, he should be OK for the weekend. With the players away on international duty, as well as Charlie Wyke and Lynden Gooch’s situations, and one or two others, the youngsters will get the opportunity to be on the trip to come.

“Seven or eight of the 23s will be down with us. Defensively we are down, Jack Bainbridge and Brandon Taylor are included, looking forward to seeing them and seeing who will play and come on from the bench.”

Sunderland are looking for a response to last Tuesday’s nightmare 3-0 defeat to League Two strugglers Scunthorpe at Gillingham, even though Saturday’s visit of Coventry is seen as the bigger game.

Parkinson said: “In any game you have to go to win it, we will certainly do that. That is the key. The last game we had we only had one fit senior striker, difficult to carry that threat. I need power and pace at the top end of the pitch.

“Charlie Wyke has been running this week, looking better and we don’t want to rush him back and lose him long term. He looks in good shape on the training ground, it won’t be long before he is allowed.”

Parkinson confirmed Hibernian are in talks to reunite coach John Potter with Jack Ross at Easter Road.

He said: “There has been contact between the two clubs. I get on well with John. We are having talks this afternoon, the lure of him going back to Scotland is there and we will wish him all the best if he does.”