O'Neill keen to see fringe players in action
Boss Martin O'Neill will spend the remaining weeks of the season assessing the depth of his squad before planning a summer shake-up.
The Ulsterman has presided over a hugely encouraging recovery since taking charge in January, and although recent results have been disappointing, he has guided the club to a comfortable mid-table position and to within striking distance of seventh place in the Barclays Premier League.
Anything better than the 10th place in which the Black Cats finished last season would represent a satisfactory conclusion to a campaign which started in such disappointing fashion, but O'Neill knows there is still much work to be done.
He has already been linked with a series of potential summer transfer targets - Wolves striker Steven Fletcher and West Brom midfielder Keith Andrews have been added to a growing list of names with speculation already mounting.
However, O'Neill will first hope to cast an eye over some of the men who have played only peripheral roles during his tenure to date, the likes of strikers Connor Wickham and Ji Dong-won, midfielder David Meyler and some of the club's younger players.
He said: "For us to strengthen, of course, we would have to look at it. I wouldn't mind some of the younger players who probably under match conditions, I maybe don't know enough about - of course, I watch them in training every single day here - but I would like to see them maybe get a little bit more match-time."