Connor Wickham

Wickham set to face Saints

by Stuart Vose

Striker included in under-21 squad.

Connor Wickham has been included in Sunderland’s under-21 side to face Southampton tonight.

The 19-year-old striker has scored four goals in three appearances this season, including a double against Aston Villa last time out.

Kevin Ball’s side are enjoying a fine run of form and haven’t tasted defeat in the league since the opening day of the season, when they lost 4-3 to tonight’s opponents in the South Coast.

Sunderland have won each of their last two games and haven’t conceded a goal in almost 300 minutes of football.

The Black Cats sit fourth in Group 2 of the Barclays U21 Premier League but are only four points behind leaders Newcastle with a game in hand.

They also boast the division’s tightest defence with just seven goals conceded – three fewer than the next-best team, Manchester United.

Southampton have enjoyed a similarly promising start, winning three, drawing three and losing just one of their first seven games.

Jason Dodd’s side have had a break from league action of late, with their last game ending in a 4-2 home defeat to Spurs on October 15.

The game will take place at Eppleton CW (KO 7pm) – click here for ticketing info.

Sunderland (from): Pickford, Dixon, Marrs, Adams, Reed, Armstrong, Deacon, Harrison, Joyce, Oliver, Ferguson, Mitchell, Gorrin, Wickham, Laidler, Lynch.