Craig Liddle

Young Cats ready for Baggies test

by Ashley Houghton

Liddle prepared for Albion trip.

Sunderland U18 coach Craig Liddle says his young Black Cats are in buoyant mood as they prepare for a double header with West Bromwich Albion this week.

Liddle’s boys host Albion on Saturday before travelling to the Midlands on Tuesday to play the reverse fixture in the Barclays U18 Premier League.

Sunderland lie second in Group One, trailing Tottenham Hotspur by three points but with a game in hand on the North London outfit.

And, Liddle told that preparations for the back-to-back games are going well.

“Obviously the last game against Wolves we were pleased with both the result and the performance for the main part of the game.

“We’ll prepare the lads in the appropriate manner; we’ll play Saturday, be in Sunday training, train Monday and then be off to West Brom on the Tuesday,” he explained.

“It’s been nice and bright in training and obviously we’re building up to two games in three days against West Brom, who again, are a very good side.”

The young Black Cats will be without George Honeyman and Reece Noble for the trip as both are out with Hernia and Ankle injuries respectively.

“George [Honeyman] is out, Reece Noble has an ankle injury and we have one or two little niggles; so we’ll wait until Friday or Saturday morning to see who we have got available.

“We’ll be young again on Saturday but it’s a challenge that the young lads will be looking forward to.”

And, though, Liddle’s young Sunderland side are second, he would like to see more consistency from his side who will be looking to win consecutive games for the first time since November.

“We’ve done well at home in the games that we’ve played but it’s the away form that we’ve struggled with and it’s something that the lads are keen to address.

“We can’t put our finger on it as we prepare as we would for home games and earlier in the season we went to Aston Villa and got a result down there.”

“We’re not doing anything different, I think it might just be a mind-set of the boys that we have to try and change,” he explained.

“It’ll be nice to go away from home and put on a performance and get a result.

“We don’t know a great deal [about West Brom], but I’ll get a report through from some of the previous games to have a quick look at but we won’t go into too much detail, because it’s about what we do.

“If we play to our maximum on the day, then we’ll be ok.”