Lynden Gooch

Youngsters' path set out

by Stuart Vose

Under-18s embark on second half of season.

Sunderland’s under-18s have got their campaign under way once more following the Christmas break with a host of new opponents on the schedule.

Under the new youth framework, teams are regrouped at the halfway mark according to their league position at the end of the first phase.

Sunderland finished Phase 1 in fourth place, thus securing a berth in the middle group for the second half of the season.

The Young Black Cats have been placed alongside Wolves, West Brom, Stoke, Tottenham, West Ham and Liverpool.

And Craig Liddle’s side made a good start to the new year, beating Wolves 4-1 in the Midlands last weekend.

They now face West Brom on January 26 in a fifth successive away game before welcoming Stoke City to Wearside on February 2.

The clash with the Potters begins a sequence which sees Sunderland play six of seven games at home before back-to-back trips to Stoke and West Ham take the youngsters into mid-April.

Liddle’s side will then end their league campaign at home to Liverpool on April 20.

Click here to view the fixture list in full.