Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has revealed he intends to address David Meyler's situation this summer following the midfielder's lack of playing time this season.
The 22-year-old Irishman has been limited to just one start and eight substitute appearances this term after starting the campaign fighting for match fitness following two serious knee injuries.
O'Neill said: "It's been very, very tough for players, David Meyler in particular, whose last start for us - it might even have been his only start for us - was against Stoke City (on February 4).
"It's been really tough for him. He's been involved in the squad but he hasn't started and of course it's frustrating.
"It's something we would look at in the summertime. He's a genuinely good lad. He hasn't moaned about it to me, but he did say he would like to play.
"His first choice would be playing for Sunderland, but at some stage or another he has to play."
O'Neill is currently drawing up plans for his summer rebuilding programme, but is relatively well served in midfield with skipper Lee Cattermole, Jack Colback, Sebastian Larsson, James McClean, David Vaughan, Craig Gardner and Meyler competing for places, while Kieran Richardson, who has played much of the season at left-back, is a midfielder by trade.
Meyler's previous form had caught the eye of Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni, who called him up for end-of-season friendlies against Paraguay and Algeria two summers ago, but a cruciate ligament injury ruled him out.
The former Cork City player will hope for a chance on Sunday when Manchester United head for the Stadium of Light for the final game of the season, but whatever happens at the weekend he intends to return raring to go for pre-season.
He told the Sunderland Echo: "Obviously, I haven't played as much as I would have wanted to, but I have never even considered leaving or going out on loan.
"I haven't gone knocking on the manager's door or anything. I just want to do my talking on the pitch. I want to play for Sunderland and I want to play for the manager.
"I will do some work over the summer and aim to come back for pre-season fitter than ever. I'm just looking forward to a full pre-season, because it is very hard to catch up if you miss out on that."