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eppleton-1000x500While the first team will be heading south tomorrow to face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, the under-23 team will be in the North East playing Sunderland in the Premier League Cup.

It’s our third game in Group B of the competition. We’ve previously lost at Blackburn and then beaten Cardiff and our three point total is above Cardiff but below both Sunderland and Blackburn who both have four points although Blackburn and Cardiff have played a game more – see Table.

The rules of the competition allow you to field one over age goalkeeper and three over age outfield players and we took full advantage of that in the last game against Cardiff. Nick Pope was in goal while the three outfield players were Tendayi Darikwa, Kevin Long and Ashley Barnes.

Barnes scored two of the goals in the 3-1 win with Patrick Bamford, who is a player within the age limit, scoring our opener.

The game should have been played two weeks ago but was called off at Sunderland’s request due to their involvement in the EFL Trophy, but this new date of Sunday 18th December will mean us having a much younger and inexperienced team to select from with the first team also in action.

Our opponents Sunderland are a very good side at this level, one of the best in the country in the top division of Premier League 2, and coach Michael Jolley accepts it is going to be a tough game for us. “It would be nice to come back with something from the game, but the big thing is the opportunity for our young players to play in this type of game and benchmark them against this standard of opposition,” he said.

“Sunderland have a very good academy and are doing well in Division One of Premier League 2, so it will be a good experience.”

Only Everton, Manchester City and Liverpool are currently ahead of Sunderland in the league . They were last beaten by Arsenal (4-0) in October but two of their last three games have ended in 2-0 away wins at Manchester United and Southampton.

The game tomorrow is reported by Sunderland to be played at the EPPLETON Colliery Welfare Ground (Hetton Centre) in Hetton-le-Hole (shown above) and not at Easington Colliery Welfare as suggested elsewhere.

The postcode for the ground is DH5 9NE but if you are intending going, there is no official parking at the ground and parking in the surrounding areas is limited.

We can now confirm that kick off time is 12 noon and not 1 p.m. as previously advertised.

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