Sunderland under-18s return to action after the international break on Saturday as they host Derby County in the Premier League.
The youth team are in pursuit of their first league win of the season, and after a rest over the international break, boss Paul Bryson sees the Rams game as a great opportunity to claim their first three points of the season.
“Our final three performances before the break were excellent, but we didn’t have that little bit of luck which you sometimes need to get a point or the win,” he said.
“We’re certainly looking to win this game, but we know it will be a tough test against a Derby side that won the league last season.
“They were the strongest side we played last season, but they had a lot of second year scholars playing who have moved on to the under-23s now.
“They will be a tough nut to crack, so once again they will prove a good challenge for our young squad.”
Bryson also spoke of his pride in seeing Cole Kiernan coming off the bench against Grimsby Town in the Leasing.com Trophy, to make his first team debut.
The 17-year-old has scored three goals in six appearances so far this season for the under-18s and will be looking to add to his tally against the Rams.
“Cole had an up and down start of the season, but the couple of weeks leading up to him playing for the first team he was excellent,” Bryson continued.
“He scored our only goal against West Brom, but his overall play was excellent, I was very impressed with the way he led the line and his link up play was excellent.”
“The way he works off the ball is very impressive too; he presses from the front which allows us to keep a good shape.”
“The staff were immensely proud to see him get on for the first team, ultimately that’s what it’s all about.”