Bognor Regis Town midfielder Tommy Block had been handed the chance to follow his dream to make it as a professional footballer with a week-long trial at Championship outfit Sunderland.

Block, who has just turned 18, is heading to the Stadium of Light to be put through his paces after scouts spotted his potential during his performances for the Rocks in National League South this season. He flies up to Wearside on Sunday, a day after Bognor host Leyton Orient in the FA Trophy in what will be arguably the biggest game of his career, should he be involved.

And while the teenager is totally focused on trying to help Jack Pearce’s side find a win over the Londoners at Nyewood Lane on Sunday, he also has an eye on what could be a pivotal few days in his future. Block, who was on Bristol City’s radar earlier in the season, says he is doubly determined to impress Black Cats boss Chris Coleman and his coaches during his spell at the club.

He is especially purposeful after suffering disappointment when he was released by Brighton and Hove Albion two years ago following five years at the club.

He said: “It’s my dream to become a professional footballer, and I am following that dream. I was devastated when I was released by Brighton aged 16 having been there since the age of 11. I won’t lie, it was a big, big blow.

“But I got my head down and kept on working and then got my chance with Bognor, and I absolutely love the club. I’ve managed to establish myself a little bit and have played 20-odd games for the Rocks now.

“As much as I want to succeed at Sunderland I know that if I don’t, hopefully, I can come back to Bognor and redouble my efforts to help us get out of the relegation position new find ourselves in.”

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