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Roker Roundup: ‘‘Unbelievable” Sunderland side beat Carlisle & take 2 of their players on trial

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An “unbelievable” Sunderland side defeated Carlisle yesterday in a friendly, whilst two of their promising Academy players have been on Wearside this week on trial.

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‘Unbelievable’ Sunderland team beat Carlisle

Sunderland beat Carlisle United 3-0 yesterday in a behind-closed-doors friendly match with what was described as an ‘unbelievable’ team by Carlisle’s first team coach Paul Murray.

Although the Sunderland line-up was not disclosed, Murray said the ‘very strong’ team, with players playing who had not been involved as much recently, had around 90% possession and scored all three goals late on:

Although we lost 3-0 we’re quite pleased because we’ve played well against a very strong team.

The team they had out was unbelievable but we kept them quiet for 65 minutes and we did really well shape wise.

They probably had 90% of the ball but they couldn’t break us down, so I was really pleased with the work we put in and the shape the lads kept.

Louis [Gray] had a couple of saves to make in the first half but we should have gone into the break 1-0 up. We had a great chance where Connor [Simpson] had an easy knock down for JK to tap it in, but it didn’t come off.

They’ve got a great squad so they played a lot of the players who haven’t been playing, when they scored the first goal you could see our lads were tired because they’d worked really hard.

We finished the game with six of the youth team on the pitch and the effort was there from all of them. Being criticial, there were stages when we needed to show a little bit more in the way of composure, but they had a lot of experience in their squad.

That came through in the latter stages of the game, which was when they scored their goals. The lads will learn a lot of good lessons. JK got another hour of football and we did a lot of work without the ball, which will be good for him.

I always ask for maximum effort and commitment and we got that from them all. Like I say,we just needed to add that little bit of composure.

It’s a good learning curve for the young lads, especially with the players they played against.

I said to Connor Simpson, in a game like that he might only get the ball five times in a half, because of the team we’re playing against, but he’s got to hold it up four of those five times.

That was a massive difference in the game. When they got the ball they were keeping it and moving it fast.

Overall we come away having had a very worthwhile fixture and with plenty of positives. That’s the main thing for us to take from it.

Meanwhile, Sunderland have taken two Carlisle United PV players on trial this week as the 16-year-olds look to earn a place at the Academy of Light.

The players, Logan Fawcett and Ryan Wombwell, currently study at Chester-le-Street based Park View Academy of Sport while turning out for Carlisle in the National Football Youth League - the highest youth level outside of the academy system.

The duo will also miss Northumberland FA’s clash with Durham FA but their head coach Alan Thompson was delighted to see them given an opportunity with Sunderland:

Although losing Logan and Ryan from the youth team squad is a big blow, I am absolutely delighted that they have been given the chance to make an impression at Sunderland.

The lads have both shown excellent attitude and commitment to work hard along with their undoubted talent.


Halford signs for Aberdeen

Former Sunderland defender Greg Halford joined Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen late last night.

The 34-year-old was given a contract until the end of the season by Derek McInnes after injuries to Tommie Hoban and Shay Logan, with the Dons manager delighted to confirm Halford’s signing:

I am delighted to bring someone of Greg’s experience and ability to the club. He’s a hugely versatile player and that made him very attractive to us in terms of what we are looking for between now and the end of the season.

At this stage of the campaign it is difficult to bring any player in so I’m really pleased to we’ve managed to secure someone of his stature.

Speaking to Greg he is naturally excited about the prospect of coming to Aberdeen and we look forward to working with him.

Halford had been out of contract since his contract with Cardiff City expired at the end of last season.

West Ham United v Sunderland Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images