Kevin Ball

Ball previews Holland tour


Coach hoping to learn more about new players on trip.

Sunderland’s development squad travel to Holland this weekend as their pre-season schedule picks up pace ahead of their Barclays U21 Premier League opener against Bolton Wanderers on Monday 12th August.

The young Black Cats are set to play Borussia Monchengladbach on the opening day of their tour prior to a fixture with Dutch Third Division side RKSV Leonidas on Saturday 3rd August.

Coach Kevin Ball says the trip is an exciting prospect for the under-21s, who will look to recover from a 3-1 defeat to Spennymoor United on Saturday.

“We go to Holland for a mini pre-season tour,” Ball said. “Originally we were meant to by playing PSV but unfortunately for us, fortunately for them, they’ve been promoted into a different league by the Dutch FA.

“I was a bit disappointed but then we’ve been given a fixture against Borussia Monchengladbach and I can’t wait for that one.

“We finish the tour against an amateur side, they’re a third-tier side in Holland but they’re meant to be decent again so it will be two good games for us.”

Ball said he will be glad to get together with the side, who have been boosted by the arrival of Duncan Watmore and multiple members of last season’s successful under-18 side.

“It’s nice to get the players away and nice for us to be together,” he added. “It’s nice for us to spend some time in each other’s pockets because for the next ten or 11 months that’s how it’s going to be.

“We can learn to deal with each other’s quirky little ways and for me to identify anything I need to work on with each individual or the team in general.

“It’s nice to see people in a different light, it’s nice for them to see me away from here, I think it’s quite interesting that you might be a different character away from here.

“They come in and they see me as a coach, and I am, but I’m also there as a confidante when they need someone to talk to or anything that need help or advice on.”