Paul Bryson has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged his players to start taking games by the scruff of the neck.
Sunderland under-18s are back in Premier League action this Saturday against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Academy of Light, kick-off 11am, for their first game since a Tyne-Wear stalemate in January.
Snow meant last Saturday’s match against West Bromwich Albion was postponed, allowing more time for Bryson and his backroom team to hammer home the message of becoming more ruthless at both ends of the pitch.
Having more belief was the key instruction Bryson wanted to get across to his players following their 1-1 draw at Newcastle United in January, and three weeks on that remains the same.
“There’s a number of players in our group who should really be taking the bull by the horns and really being the best player when they play for the under-18s,” Bryson told safc.com
“That’s what needs to happen more often, especially because some of the second-year scholars should be stepping into the under-23 set-up between now and May.
“Kane Evans played well in our last match - he has travelled and played with the under-23s recently along with Ryan Leonard - but it doesn’t help being without Cole (Kiernan).
“Even when we aren’t playing well, Cole makes clever runs and scores goals,” he continued. “At the other end, big Andrias (Edmundsson) has been unavailable which is a blow.
“Our ‘keeper hasn’t kicked a ball all season so we’re a little bit stretched but considering what they’ve tried to give us we are pleased with them.”