Sunderland coach delivers verdict on Gateshead and Blyth Spartans pre-season games
Sunderland reported back at the Academy of Light on June 22 and then played two behind-closed-doors, games against Gateshead and Blyth Spartans at the Academy of Light over the weekend.
Alex Neil handed opportunities to younger players at the club as well as allowing first-team players to develop match fitness. Assistant head coach Canning said: "The boys have come in, they've been great and they have worked really hard, but you have to get game fitness as well.
"There's obviously more to the game and when you play with senior players they keep you right and you learn. It's great for the older boys as well to pass that experience on, so it benefits everyone.
"There has been a lot of running, but a lot of the hard work is done with the ball as well.
"They've had plenty of touches and the next progression now are the games, we've had two today and then we step it up and look forward to the season."
Sunderland are set for a trip to Portugal this coming week.
The club will play Scottish giants Rangers in Albufeira next weekend before a second friendly following the Gers clash.
Details regarding the opponent for Sunderland’s second game have yet to be confirmed.
Canning told safc.com: "The trip to Portugal now gives the opportunity for two more games, some warm weather training, and everything is geared towards the first game and getting ready for that."