Sunderland have had a strong finish to the season, but it seems that it is not enough for manager Martin O’Neill.

The former Aston Villa manager says that he is looking at the possibility of introducing fringe players in order to learn more about them in the remaining Premier league matches.

Only five matches remain in the Premier league this season, and Sunderland are not playing for anything. They are out of the FA Cup and are also safe from relegation.

This means that Martin O’Neill has the opportunity to give some game time to fringe players, whom he may not have had the chance to witness after having arrived at the club only a few months ago.

Steve Bruce had a disappointing start to the season and was eventually sacked. Martin O’Neill arrived only a few months ago and has helped the club secure a mid-table finish. He has said that Sunderland will be strengthening a lot in the summer transfer window, but before that he needs to check the quality of the players he has already at his disposal.

Some of the players may not have featured in the first team up until now, but O’Neill is prepared to give them a chance to prove themselves under the new regime.

“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,” O’Neill told the Sunderland Fixtures website.

Since Nicklas Bendtner is likely to leave the club, the striking options will be of particular interest to O’Neill in the summer transfer window, though I still think if you wanted an outside bet on euro 2012’s top scorer it would be on Bentnder.