Paul Bryson has issued a rallying cry to his players ahead of their clash with Newcastle United on Saturday in the U18 Premier League.
Sunderland under-18s host the Magpies at the Academy of Light as they search for their first points of the campaign.
Bryson believes his players should relish the opportunity of a local derby as they prepare to bounce back from a heavy defeat at Everton.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves; we have to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves down and respond in the right way,” he said.
“After last week’s result there’s probably no better game to see a reaction than facing our local rivals Newcastle.
“We’re at home and it’s a great opportunity for us to pick up points, I am looking for a massive, massive response from the players and I can’t stress that enough.
“Newcastle are a good side with some excellent players, they’ll be very well organised and a tough nut to crack, but we have to give it our best shot.”
The youth team have been depleted by injuries so far this season, with Tom Smith, Harry Ord, Ryan Gooch, Patrick Almond and Liam Miller all missing this weekend.
Sunderland will also be without goalkeeper Jack Newman, who has been selected to represent Scotland under-18s
Although the injuries have hampered the Black Cats’ league position, Bryson thinks it will stand some of his players in good stead in the future.
“If anything good has come out of the injuries, it’s that the first years wouldn’t have played anywhere near the number of minutes they have in the first six or seven weeks of the season.
“In the long run I think it will benefit them as they will be used to the demands of under-18 football and they will have gained some valuable experience from it. It’s been a big challenge for the lads so far, both mentally and physically.”