Sunderland U23s will name yet another starting eleven jam-packed with first team players when they take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium this evening (7pm), a game that you can follow live on our Twitter feed here.
Joel Asoro is set for a starting berth up front for Elliott Dickman’s charges in place of Andrew Nelson, who will settle for a place on the bench, whilst Josh Maja will also make his return from injury following a spell out with a knee problem.
Paddy McNair - who made a goalscoring return from his long-term knee injury last week against Hertha Berlin in the Premier League International Cup - will also start in the centre of midfield, alongside Elliot Embleton, who has returned following a successful trip away with England’s U19s side.
After producing an exciting cameo appearance against the German side, there is a place in the number ten role for young starlet Jack Diamond, a player who is very highly thought of at the Academy of Light and that has been fast-tracked from Sunderland’s U18s to the U23s due to the ability that the 17-year old possesses.
Speaking to SAFC.com today ahead of the game, head coach Elliott Dickman is hopeful that Sunderland can come away with a decent result, provided they compete against what will be a strong Arsenal side this evening:
You don’t know what kind of team they were going to put out because they have got some talented young players. No matter what team they put out it is going to be a difficult game because they are playing in the Europa League.
It is a big challenge and we have got to make sure we prepare as well as we can to go down there and give a good account of ourselves. It is great for the lads to be playing against these sides.
We know there aren’t any poor sides in this division so every week we are coming up against a competitive team. We have managed to score more goals but we know we need to do it more often. The lads are competitive, they work hard and they seem to understand what is required when they don’ have the ball better than before.
We’ll be covering the game tonight from the Press Box at the Emirates, so be sure to keep one eye on our Twitter feed throughout the game.
Then, after the match, we’ll be providing a comprehensive match report and player ratings piece detailing how the game played out - hopefully we’ll have another win for the second string to talk about, which would make a nice change from the reality of watching the senior side these days.