Progression: Flanagan seeks improvement

Tom Flanagan is looking for more when Sunderland travel to Hartlepool United this weekend.

The defender completed 90 minutes against Darlington and took a big step towards full fitness, but post-match he admitted the Lads should have performed at a higher level.

Chances were few and far between, as is often the case during the first run out of pre-season, as Darlington provided a suitable test at Blackwell Meadows.

And speaking post-match, Flanagan urged his team-mates to step it up a gear when they travel to Victoria Park on Saturday.

“I played the full game in Portugal and got another 90 minutes in the tank tonight, but that’s pre-season and it does exactly what it says on the tin.

“I’d have happily played another 90 minutes if it meant we won the game, as that’s the disappointment from tonight."

He continued: “I know it’s all about fitness at this stage and we have to take what we can from the game, but it would have been nice to come away with a win.

“Credit to them, they were up and at it and during the first 15 to 20 minutes they were exactly how we should have been, so we let ourselves down in that respect.

“It was a good challenge for us, though, and exactly what you want from a pre-season game.

“We’ll go again on Saturday and hopefully we can get that first win.”

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