Sunderland under-23s are back in Premier League Cup action this weekend as they host Liverpool at Eppleton CW.
The Lads secured a point at Huddersfield Town in their opening game of the competition, with a 0-0 draw at The John Smith’s Stadium.
But after a string of disappointing results in the league, boss Elliot Dickman believes his side will have to be at their best to pick up points against a strong Liverpool side.
“The game last Sunday against Reading was deja vu for us, we do quite well until we concede a goal and then we haven’t been able to get back into the game,” Dickman said.
“To concede so early in the second half, and then pick up a red card shortly after left us with a mountain to climb.
“Despite results, there’s a great spirit and belief in the dressing room; training’s been really good and there’s still lots of positives.”
The Reds currently sit in seventh place in the Premier League 2 Division 1, and come into the game on the back of a 2-1 victory over their Merseyside counterparts Everton.
England starlets Harvey Elliot and Rhian Brewster have featured for Liverpool’s first team this season, and the duo could make the trip to Wearside for Sunday’s tie.
“If the likes of Brewster and Elliot do travel, it will be great for our lads to play against players who are in and around Champions League football with Liverpool’s first team,” Dickman continued.
“Liverpool are flying as a club; it will be a difficult challenge but it’s one that the lads should embrace and learn from whatever the outcome might be.
“From our point of view, we will have to be at our best on Sunday against a very good Liverpool side.
“We need to keep working hard and do what is right for the individuals in our team, hopefully results will turn, and everything clicks together.
“But the best result for us is getting lads into the first team and I know we will continue to do that.”