SUNDERLAND manager Lee Johnson admits the club are reaping the benefits of their young gun transfer policy that was implemented over the summer months.

In total, the Black Cats have brought in eight players under the age of 23 this season which doesn’t include the emergence of 19-year-old Dan Neil who has come through the academy ranks.

The most recent acquisition was Northern Irish teenage right-back Trai Hume who has joined on a four-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee from Linfield.

The signing of Hume is a continuation of the club’s transfer policy of recruiting young players and teenagers with potential to break into the first-team and be part of a long-term project at the club.

The likes of 19-year-old Dennis Cirkin, 21-year-old Niall Huggins and academy graduate Neil have all made their mark this season while 18-year-old Callum Doyle has enjoyed a hugely successful loan spell from Premier League Champions Manchester City alongside Bayern Munich duo Thorben Hoffman and Leon Dajaku. The influx of youth into the club has been orchestrated by a combined effort between Johnson, Director of Football Kristjaan Speakman and Head of Recruitment Stuart Harvey.

While throwing kids into the first-team can always be seen as a gamble, Johnson and his coaching staff have found a way into tapping into their young guns and getting the best out of them this season.

“We’re seeing that already aren’t we” added Johnson.

“Our points per game has been strong, our performances have been strong and you’ve got to get the right players. It’s as simple as that.

“We can be a great vehicle for good players. You’ve seen the likes of our own come through and the ones that we’ve recruited come through and actually a couple that we have recruited that are really good players. I think (Niall) Huggins is a good example. He hasn’t really had the opportunity to shine and when we get players like that back, it will feel like a new signing.”

Clearly, the kids have shown the Sunderland fans they are alright as they currently sit second in the League One table just a point behind Rotherham United.

The Black Cats face Wycombe Wanderers this weekend looking to extend their unbeaten run to ten games.