Paul Bryson can’t wait to get started in the business stage of the season.
With Christmas break now over, Sunderland under-18s will resume their U18 Premier League campaign away at title-hopefuls Liverpool, kick-off 7pm.
Facing their first competitive match in 2019, Bryson admitted to safc.com all is to play for in the final few months of the season with decisions surrounding players contracts still up in the air.
However, despite being restricted through injuries going into tonight’s meeting on Merseyside with the Redmen, Bryson has urged his players to give everything they’ve got as they look to set the tone for a positive 2019.
“It’s going to be a difficult match this evening, they are riding high in the league and we will give it our best shot.
“We have got one or two injuries because the two forwards that we have got are both injured and our under-16 striker, Ryan Bruce, who is coming in as a scholar next year, is injured as well so we are really light in that area.
“We are starting to come down to the decision stage of the season. Players need to start fighting for their contracts and looking to make the next step in their careers.
“I had hoped the Christmas break might’ve helped us get one or two players back, but Cole Kiernan has had a reoccurrence of his injury while Connor Slack has been in a similar position.
He continued: “The second years have got about three months now to prove whether they are going to get a new contract or not. It is entirely down to them and the work they put in between now and then.
“Dan Neil is playing regularly with the under-23s, that’s great for him, but for the other first-year scholars they need to be trying to nail down a starting place in the under-18s.”