Academy: Atkinson looks to climb league

Mark Atkinson has urged his young Sunderland side to start looking up the league rather than what’s behind them.

The young Black Cats travel to West Bromwich Albion this Saturday, looking to stretch their unbeaten run to three games.

With four points collected from a possible six, the Lads head to the Black Country with the opportunity to propel themselves up the league and away from the foot of their Premier League merits group.

Standing in their way, though, are a Baggies side who sit below them on goal difference and with the same trail of thought going into Saturday’s encounter.

“We have spoken about our performances in our last two games and picking up points,” Atkinson told

“We have produced some good performances as well and now the challenge is to build on that at West Brom this weekend.

“It is something I have spoken to the group about and they are very mindful of that.

“We need to build on our last two games. In our first two merits games we played the best we have done with the ball but in the last two we have defended really well.

“That has been the base and from that we have picked up four points,” he continued.

“It is pleasing for the boys because it is something they deserve.

“They have got to build on what they have got and tomorrow is a great opportunity to do that.”

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