Craig Liddle

U18 Preview: Man Utd v Sunderland

by Stuart Vose

Under-18s ready for tough away test.

Sunderland’s under-18s are chasing a third straight win when they take on Manchester United in the Barclays U18 Premier League on Saturday.

Victories over Newcastle and Aston Villa have taken the young Black Cats up to fourth in the division ahead of this weekend’s trip to the north west.

“We know each week we are going to be really tested as we’re playing against the best Academies in the country,” coach Craig Liddle said ahead of the game.

“Going down to test ourselves against Manchester United is a great opportunity for the lads and I’m sure they’re looking forward to it as much as I am.”

A 4-2 win over Newcastle was followed by a 3-2 away victory at Villa last weekend and Liddle has been delighted with his side’s recent performances.

Sunderland’s first three league games have featured 10 goals – only league leaders Southampton and second-placed United have bagged more.

“We’re looking very dangerous going forward, although if we’re being critical we still need to tighten up at the back,” Liddle added.

“The boys know where they need to improve. They seem to be enjoying themselves and are playing with a lot of freedom.

“We’ve predominantly got a lot of second years, so we’ve been an older side and that little bit of experience has helped.

“When the younger lads have come in they’ve stepped up to the plate admirably and done really well.

“There’s a good balance and it’s important we keep striving to get better. There’s no better test than going to Manchester United.”