Carlton Fairweather reviews under-18's win over Gateshead
Sunderland coach Carlton Fairweather was pleased with the application of the Black Cats’ under-18 side as they overcame Gateshead in their opening pre-season friendly at the Academy of Light on Tuesday.
Rees Greenwood’s first-half strike, as well as a second-half volley from one of six trialists to feature, earned the young Black Cats a 2-1 victory over their Tyneside neighbours.
And Fairweather has been happy with how the new intake has settled into full-time life at the AoL.
“They’ve worked really well, obviously it’s there first week back – training has gone really well, the sessions that they’ve had have gone really well both technically and tactically as well,” he explained.
“At this particular time they’re coping very well, obviously it’s new to them in the fact that they’re training every day so they’re just getting to grips with that and hopefully they’ll learn and push on from there.”
Fairweather was also quick to praise Tuesday’s opponents who provided a stern test for the young Black Cats who will be looking to emulate last season’s Barclays U18 Premier League success.
“Gateshead to be fair have some very good sides they are managed by Paul Bryson and they’ve won their championship for the last five or six years so it was a very good test for our lads as well,” Fairweather added.
“For us, it’s just the first game and it was a good win but there is a long way to go.”
And Fairweather is excited to work with the new crop of under-18’s after coaching them throughout their time at the AoL.
Though he feels emulating last season’s success would be a remarkable achievement with a team built-up of mainly first-year scholars.
“I had a lot of these lads at under-15’s and under-16’s so that works well and obviously with Ged [McNamee] as well it can only get better for the players that are involved and hopefully they’ll learn a lot,” he continued.
“Ask me at the end of the season [about the possibility of repeating last season’s semi-final place] and we’ll go from there.”