U21s heading north of the border

by Oscar Chamberlain

Development squad to take on Partick on Wednesday.

Robbie Stockdale is hoping to see more of the same when Sunderland’s U21s take on Partick Thistle on Wednesday night.

The young Black Cats have enjoyed a super pre-season campaign, which continued on Saturday with an impressive 3-1 win over Conference Premier side Gateshead.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s match at Firhill Stadium, Stockdale challenged the side to kick on and keep working hard.

“I am very pleased with all of the players but we will be continue to work hard ahead of our next match against Partick.

“I was expecting Saturday to be the toughest match of pre-season and that is exactly what it turned out to be, but it was another very good performance from the lads in incredibly testing conditions.”

He added: “The rain was torrential but their attitude remained terrific and we saw some superb passages of play.”

The coach also admitted that the players must start faster, after conceding within the first five minutes for a second time in quick succession.

“We have started a few games quite slow now, at Boston we also conceded early so it is something that we will need to look at.

“Saying that it was a fantastic strike so I suppose the positive is that it didn’t really seem to affect us - I thought we grew into both halves very well and although the weather ultimately spoiled the game it was already over because of the fantastic attitude we displayed throughout.”

Danny Graham, Mikael Mandron and Sebastian Larsson got the goals to down the Conference Premier side, and although Stockdale isn’t getting carried away he was pleased with the quality displayed.

“The goals are all top quality and Danny [Graham] was quick to praise Tom Beadling for his cross that led to the equaliser.

“It just shows what the players are capable of, and although we are not getting carried away because it is pre-season it was another great experience for them.”