SAFC Under-21s are back in action after a hiatus of over three weeks on Friday night, heading down to Bishop Auckland’s Voneus Stadium (Heritage Park) to face Middlesbrough (KO 7pm).
A return to competitive action was delayed for John Hewitson’s side following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II postponing the original date of this fixture, followed by the rescheduling of the team’s Premier League Cup group clash with Wolves which was intended to be played the following Tuesday.
The young Lads’ four league matches played to date have produced one win, one draw and two defeats, but across the board have witnessed 19 goals and an exciting, improving brand of football among many new teammates.
With no first-team fixture pencilled in this weekend as the Sky Bet Championship takes a back seat for the international break, a handful of Tony Mowbray’s squad may get minutes under their belts, including Edouard Michut, Bailey Wright and Alex Bass.
Michael Spellman and Ethan Kachosa are suspended following red cards in the team’s last match against West Bromwich Albion at Eppleton, possibly inviting opportunities for more U18 scholars to make the step up.
Middlesbrough have enjoyed a fairly strong start to the season, claiming wins in three of their opening five matches – subsequently sitting third in the Premier League 2 Division 2 table. The Teessiders have notched 15 goals, and suffered their first league loss of the season last Sunday at the hands of Norwich City.
Summer signing Matthew Hoppe has hit three goals in three games for Mark Tinkler’s side so far, whilst Calum Kavanagh – son of former Sunderland man Graham – has scored twice and claimed three assists, after firing a hat-trick against the young Lads at Rockliffe Park last season.
Admission is available on the gate for your fix of Friday night football, at a cost of £3 on the turnstiles. Social media updates will be active on our official Academy Twitter account, @AcademyOfLight.