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U21s Face PSV In European Quarter Final Tonight

Andy Welsh's under twenty-one's squad take on Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven at the Stadium of Light tonight in a bid to reach the semi-final stage of this year's Barclay's Premier League International Cup.

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

What You Need To Know

Tonight's game at the Stadium of Light kicks off at seven o'clock, and admission is not free for season card holders (usually, U21s games are free with a season card, but not for these cup games). Admission is three pounds for adults and one pound for concessions.

If you can't get along tonight we'll have @GRokerReport at the game live-tweeting the game as it happens - follow him on Twitter to keep up with the match action.

How Have We Been Doing?

Well, the last game Sunderland played in this competition was against Athletic Club Bilbao in November, when goals from Danny Graham and Martin Smith (no, not Son of Pele) secured a 2-1 win for Andy Welsh's men. Only a point was needed from the game to qualify, having collected three points in a win against Manchester City in August and then a further point in a draw with Borussia Monchengladbach at the Stadium of Light back in October.

Because the competition is ran by the Barclay's Premier League, all games are played in England, so home advantage seems to have worked in Sunderland's favour, and the hope is that the same thing can come in to play this evening against what will be a strong PSV side.

What The Gaffer Has Said

Andy Welsh told SAFC.com:

It has been very positive you can assess your players at another level. We have played German and Spanish opposition and now we are playing Dutch opponents so it can only enhance our development programme.

It’s not so much about the winning its about developing players and assessing them at certain levels and hopefully they can come through and we’ll find more out about the lads on Friday night.

The German’s were very functional, the Spanish kept the ball very well and the Dutch will try to dominant the ball on Friday night.

We’ll try to wrestle it back and we have got to try and get some possession. It’s all different styles and you can only enhance the players really to play in these sorts of ties, so we are looking forward to it and we’ll be ready to go on Friday night.

Player's Perspective

Midfielder Martin Smith told SAFC.com:

It’s a quarter-final and it’s a great opportunity to win the game and proceed to the next round.

It’s a big opportunity, it’s probably the biggest competition at our age group and PSV are one of the top Dutch sides in the Eredivisie. It will be tough but we are capable of beating any side and we know that because we have proved that, so we will be going into it looking to win.

You come up against different sides and they are totally different in the way they play and their style.

We have played against foreign sides before and we did well against Monchengladbach and Bilbao. We were defensively resolute and kept the ball well so we have got to take the game to them and go and win it and I’m sure we will do that.

Who Can We Expect Will Feature?

With Adam Matthews failing to secure a loan move away from the club on deadline day we may well see him play at right back, but with Josh Robson also available for selection Andy Welsh has plenty of options.

Top scorer Lynden Gooch joined Doncaster Rovers on loan in January, so is unavailable for selection.

Max Stryjek is expected to remain in goal, whilst George Brady - signed from Chelsea in the summer - will likely partner Tom Beadling in the centre of defence. Tom Robson, who was linked to a loan move to Wigan Athletic recently, will be at left back.

Captain Liam Agnew, Martin Smith, Ethan Robson, Dan Wright and Rees Greenwood - who signed a new contract just two weeks ago - should make up the rest of the midfield, with  Mikael Mandron expected to play up front. Another who may feature is striker Andrew Nelson.

With the first team playing away this week it's unlikely that many, if any, will play a part tonight (bar Adam Matthews, of course). Valentin Roberge is in contention but is unlikely to break up the partnership of Brady and Beadling in the Sunderland back line.

Predicted XI

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