Craig Liddle

U18 Preview: Sunderland v So'ton

by Stuart Vose

Youngsters make south coast trip.

Sunderland’s under-18s have made the long journey to the south coast today ahead of tomorrow’s Barclays U18 Premier League clash with Southampton.

The Saints beat Craig Liddle’s side 4-3 on the opening day of the season and are currently riding high at the top of the division.

They are four points clear of second-placed Manchester United having taken 19 points from a possible 24 so far.

Sunderland, who boast two games in hand, are fifth following a 2-1 home defeat to Tottenham in their last league game.

But Liddle believes the young Black Cats are in with a chance of beating the league leaders if they can cut out individual mistakes.

“It was a close game on the first day of the season and although they ran out narrow winners we dominated possession,” he said.

“A few individual errors cost us on the day. We will go there with confidence but at the same time aware that they are a very good side.

“When we came off against Spurs [in the last league game] we were disappointed because we felt we didn’t play as well as we could have.

“But on reflection and having watched the game back we didn’t do too badly and on another day could have got something from the game.

“Again, individual errors cost us and that’s going to happen with youngsters. However, we need to eradicate them because our overall performance wasn’t too bad.”

He added: “Hopefully we’ll go there, give a good account of ourselves and get three points because it’s a long way to come back after a defeat.”

The players departed the Academy of Light at Friday lunchtime and will stay overnight to prepare as professionally as possible for the game.

“Stepping into the professional game, they are often going to be away from home preparing for a match,” Liddle said.

“It’s a good learning curve for the players and we treat the games as professionally as we can. They will benefit from that in the long run.”