U18: Atkinson hopeful win can fuel confidence

Saturday’s victory at Derby County will provide the youth team’s new crop of players a major boost, according to Mark Atkinson.  

Sunderland under-18s were without six regular second-year scholars for their Premier League trip to the East Midlands last weekend as they featured for Elliott Dickman’s development team on Friday night at Brighton.

And despite fielding a younger youth team than normal, Atkinson’s Black Cats produced a defensively sound display as they frustrated the Rams to few clear sights of goal.

With the game heading for a goalless draw, Jordan Hickey surged forward to deal the Rams a knockout blow and secure three precious points for Sunderland – their first of 2018.

“Hopefully this result can give some of the younger lads a massive boost,” Atkinson told safc.com.

“With the under-23s playing on Friday night it meant we were without six players for the trip to Derby.

“But we want those players to be playing for the under-23s. It’s right that they are there and that allows us to bring through a few more faces.

“It means we can play some of the first-year scholars and under-16s.

“We want those players to be playing more and against Derby they came through it,” he continued.

“The result will give them a massive boost in confidence and hopefully they can kick on now.”

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