U18s: Atkinson seeks winning return

Mark Atkinson has demanded his players continue to battle on in the same way they showed last month.

The international break over the last week provided Sunderland under-18s with the opportunity to reflect and digest one a pleasing September.

Victories over West Ham United and Stoke City saw the young Black Cats get their season up and running, before a spirited and hard-fought defeat at undefeated Premier League leaders Manchester City halted their form.

But despite suffering defeat last time out, Atkinson is relishing the opportunity of gauging just how far his players have come over the last month when they entertain Everton on Wearside in their latest test tomorrow.

“A lot of the lads went home over the period so it is good for them to see their families,” he said.

“We are glad to be back in and we have been working hard all week and we are ready to go.

“It has been a stop-start season but we have got a lot of games till Christmas now.

“There is plenty of football to play, everyone is beginning to get back fit and that gives us plenty of decisions to make.

“The City game for 70 minutes was pleasing,” he continued.

“We did what we wanted to do and the lads did really well. We sort of lost our way when we conceded the fourth goal and fatigue began to kick in.

“Obviously, it is another opportunity this weekend against a good Everton side. It is another game where we can get more of an understanding of where they are at.

“In the Stoke game we were good in and out of possession, we controlled it for large periods and we always looked a threat going forward.

“We have got to build on the performances we have shown recently.”

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