With only ten games to save their season, League One is quickly becoming a real possibility looming over Sunderland heads.

Should no buyer be found and lacking in funds; the Wearsiders academy prospects will be the first under consideration for a call-up.

Although the transition to first team football is tough for some, Sunderland have had some real success stories in recent years.

With Jordan Henderson and Jordan Pickford the inspirations from the academy and recent introductions of Josh Maja, Joel Asoro and Ethan Robson, who could be next to shine from Sunderland’s academy?

Here, we look at seven of those prospects within the Black Cats youth set-up who Sunderland could turn to for League One football.

Elliot Embleton

An obvious choice in most fans eyes, Embleton could be a valuable asset with his ability to play a variety of midfield positions.

With good technical and ball skills accompanied by an eye for goal, it is no wonder he has been capped ay various youth levels by England.

Playing in all but one Sunderland under-23 game this season and a first team substitute appearance against Wolves, Embleton’s experience at each level could prove vital in England’s third tier.

Connor Shields

Signed on deadline day in January 2017, the Black Cats pipped Watford and Aston Villa to the signature of this promising striker from Scottish League One side Albion Rovers.

Shields has linked up with Elliot Dickman’s under-23 side, gaining a few appearances for the side and with more experience in English football could become a serious striking option.

And with 12 goals in all competitions for Albion Rovers, nine in the Scottish League One, Shields senior football experience could provide stiff competition for Asoro and Maja.

Andrew Nelson

Nelson is a strong and quick forward who forced his way into the under-23 side with crucial goals during his lengthy spell in the U18 side.

The striker is at his third loan club, Falkirk, having previously played at Hartlepool and Harrogate Town. With a goal already in the Scottish Championship, his talents are beginning to shine.

With bundles of energy and a good work ethic, Nelson makes himself tough for defenders to handle, which is an aspect that the first team could use in League One that was missing during the majority of the season so far.

Luke Molyneux

Molyneux is a right winger who joined the Black Cats at under-16 and in 2014/15 took the under-18 level by storm.

Scoring six goals in that season this pacy winger has clearly shown his goal scoring ability, with one an extra time winner against Ipswich Town in the FA Youth Cup.

Now gaining under-23 experience and developing his game as a right-winger, who can also play up front, Molyneux could provide an extra option in any of the forward areas.

Benjamin Mbunga Kimpioka

Kimpioka is a highly rated Sweden under-17 international, that can play both wings and at striker, who joined Sunderland in 2016 at the age of 16.

The young swede, now 18, has scored 14 goals for the under-18’s, with nine coming this season, which has pushed him into the under-23 side.

Making an impact at under-18 level in the two years he’s been at Sunderland and now looking to make impacts with the under-23s, Kimpioka could provide stiff competition to an ageing Aiden McGeady.

Lee Connelly

Scottish striker Connelly joined in 2016 from Queen’s Park around the same time as Kimpioka, and has played for Scotland at both under-16 and under-17 level.

He has already found his feet with the under-16s scoring 16 times in 38 appearances since joining and is already of the mark for the under-23s, scoring in the 1-0 victory over West Ham’s under-23.

With an eye for finding space and the ability to adapt quickly while moving up the ranks, Connelly could be ready for the push into the first team.

Bali Mumba

England midfielder Mumba singed for Sunderland at 16 and is one of Sunderland brightest young academy prospects.

Although more defensively-minded, the England under-17 international has got a goal and assist to his name this season showing he has more to his game than first thought.

Although he has no under-23 experience, Mumba, with a little time could go on to eclipse Jordan Henderson as a Sunderland prospect should he be called upon in League One.

*video credit – Sunderland AFC YouTube