U18s: Atkinson pleased with positive mindset

Mark Atkinson has highlighted the character and desire of his players as preparations for the 2017-18 season enters its third week.

With fitness still top of the list of priorities, the young Black Cats came through their first run out of the season in style as they defeated Gateshead 6-0 on Saturday.

Atkinson, though, is refusing to get carried away by the resounding win and while he has praised the spirit within the group he is more focused on continuing in the same vein.

“The attitude of the players has been first class,” he said.

“We were dying to get that game against Gateshead on Saturday because it has been two weeks since we’ve been back.

“The game came at the right time and fitness-wise we are probably where we expect them to be at.

“We have got a game on Saturday and then after that they will start to come thick and fast as we continue to prepare for the league season.

“We have been pushing the players quite hard in the last couple of weeks,” he continued.

“The togetherness within the group has been really pleasing and that kind of mentality will be important for us to continue over the season.”

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