Elliott Dickman

Dickman: Youngsters have momentum

by Kate Smith

Under-18s moving in the right direction.

The Academy’s head of coaching, Elliott Dickman, says the club’s under-18 side are definitely on an upward curve.

The young Black Cats have taken nine points from their last four games in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League, including a fine 3-2 win over Stoke City last weekend.

They have also entertained along the way, firing home 13 goals in just five league games so far.

A gap in the schedule has presented Sunderland with a free weekend, but the coaching staff have opted to arrange a friendly against Middlesbrough tomorrow (Friday) with the players riding high.

“There’s no league game but we have the friendly [on Friday] and then Spurs the week afterwards,” Dickman said.

“The momentum is good – the lads are positive at the moment, especially after the win over Stoke.

“We want to build on that now. It would have been easy for us to have a break this week but we want to keep them going and that’s what the lads want to do as well.

“They just want to keep playing football and we want to see them keep playing the way they have been.”

Dickman and coach Craig Liddle went through a host of emotions on the touchline at the Academy of Light during the win over Stoke last weekend.

The young Black Cats found themselves 2-0 down and staring at defeat only to roar back with three goals of their own.

Second-year scholar Callum Hope, on as a substitute, halved the deficit before Mikael Mandron levelled from the penalty spot.

A draw looked on the cards before Hope netted in spectacular fashion late on to secure what Dickman described as a “well-deserved” three points.

“We wondered how the players would react when things weren’t going well,” he added. “Saturday was fantastic from that side of things and above all the performance was really good.

“If the result hadn’t gone our way, we still would have been very pleased with the performance. To score in the last minute was the icing on the cake and the players got what they deserved.

“The feeling in the dugout when we got one goal back was that we would at least get another, if not two.

“As time was ticking on, we thought ‘fair play’ to the lads for getting back into the game.

“For Callum to finish it off [with the late goal] was very pleasing. We were just really pleased with the performance. In the second half the way some of the lads played was really positive.”