Sunderland under- 18s have struggled at the beginning of the 2019-20 season but manager Paul Bryson is remaining positive as they travel to Everton on Saturday.
The young Black Cats travel to Finch Farm to face the Toffees in the U18 Premier League as they look to pick up their first points of the season.
The under-18s have been hampered by injuries so far with a number of lads from younger age groups being forced to step up and fill the void.
Last time out, the lads lost 2-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Academy of Light after conceding two sloppy goals, but Bryson was pleased with the improved performance of his players and aims to continue that at Everton.
“We are looking to build on the positive performance from the Wolves game even though we didn’t get the result to match.
“Everton are a very strong side and are a category one Premier League team so it will be a tough test for us again.
“We have come up with a game plan and hopefully the lads can put that into practise on Saturday and deliver a strong performance.
“It’s tough at the minute with injuries and we obviously have Daniel (Neil) and Bali (Mumba) playing with the under 23s so we’re struggling a bit with numbers, but we have to get on with it.”