U23s preview: Welsh relishing cup competitions

Andy Welsh has admitted the variety of cup competitions provides his team with the perfect platform for development.

On Sunday Sunderland under-23s welcome Cardiff City to Eppleton Colliery Welfare (kick-off 12pm) bidding to extend their unbeaten start in the Premier League Cup.

Fresh from cementing their place in the knockout stages of the Premier League International Cup last week, the young Cats were then forced to turn their attentions back to their domestic campaign for a midweek trip to Derby County.

While that saw the development side embroiled in a foggy stalemate at a foggy at St George’s Park, Welsh has praised the fixture schedule as his side resume a third competition in as many games.

“Derby had one or two chances in our box but never created any clear cut opportunities,” he said.

“Max (Stryjek) didn’t have many saves to make and didn’t have many crosses to deal with either.

“We defended quite well with George Brady and Michael Ledger in there for us.

“Andrew Nelson is tireless up front and he wins so many headers, flicks and on another night could’ve scored so there were plenty to take from the game.”

He continued: “It’s good for development (the amount of fixtures) and we want to play well and win every game.

“We wanted to get through in the International Cup and we did that by just getting a point.

“The competitions are a good development tool for us and we are top of our Premier League Cup group as well.

“We are now looking forward to Cardiff which will be another tough physical match."
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