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U21s to head to Hong Kong

by Stuart Vose

Ball taking development squad to sevens tournament next week.

Sunderland’s U21s are forerunners for the first team as they prepare to head to Hong Kong next week.

The development squad are taking part in the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens alongside 15 other teams including Aston Villa, Manchester City and Newcastle.

The squad fly out on Tuesday ahead of the tournament, which runs between 24-26 May.

The Black Cats have been drawn in Group A alongside City, Singapore Cricket Club and Yau Yee League Select.

Ten players will represent the club at the tournament, including goalkeeper Joel Dixon and defenders Liam Marrs, David Ferguson and Scott Harrison.

Midfielder Billy Knott is also making the trip, as are Adam Mitchell, Jordan Laidler, George Honeyman, Alex Gorrin and Ryan Noble.

The youngsters suffered a defeat in the semi-finals last year and coach Kevin Ball is looking forward to seeing his side pit their wits once more.

“It’s a different test for the lads,” he said. “It’s a great competition and a great experience for the players.

“They will see a different culture and a different style of football.

“It’s a different environment in terms of temperature and there will be good crowds at the games, too.”

Ball added: “It’s really good fun and the people who look after us out there are fabulous.

“Altogether it’s a great experience and there’s some good teams out there to play against.”

Keep up to date with the youngsters’ progress on