Young Sunderland trio part of squad set to face Crewe in League One, confirms coach
Elliott Dickman was left with mixed emotions after a youthful Sunderland U23 side fell to a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United on Monday night.
Dickman’s options were depleted with regulars Will Harris, Ollie Younger and Stephen Wearne all travelling with the senior group to Crewe Alexandra for Tuesday night’s League One clash.
The Black Cats took a first-half lead through Tyrese Dyce’s goal five minutes before the break, at which point the visitors had yet to register a shot on goal.
Goals from Jay Turner-Cooke and Adam Wilson turned the tide in the opening stages of the second half, though the first came via a major deflection on Joe White’s long-range effort.
Sunderland pushed for an equaliser but lacking the influential Harris and Wearne, fell to a narrow defeat.
Dickman said he was pleased with large elements of the performance, particularly given the age profile of his side, but insists there are areas where they must quickly improve.
“It's a couple of little bits of quality that have won the game,” Dickman said.
“We're quite pleased with how we played but obviously disappointed to have lost.
“We definitely created enough and worked hard enough, though in some of our good spells we didn't hurt them enough.
“I don't think it's a game we should have lost, to be honest.
“I still think both of the goals are preventable. I still think one or two of our lads needed to be more aggressive in dealing with it, and that's frustrating as a coach as it's something we've worked a lot on. It's an area that one or two need to get better at.
“We moved the ball about quite well, some of the quality wasn't bad but our movement could have been a bit more dynamic.
“But listen, we're asking young Joe Ryder fresh out of school to play up front in an U23 game, because of a couple of injuries and we have three lads who have travelled with the first team.
“Those three lads would definitely have enhanced our group but this is what it's all about,” he added.
“95% of what we've done today is quite pleasing but we've got to keep trying to make these players better.
“And of course, to get lads into the first team. Tomorrow night we'll have a handful in there so that's good for them and good for us.
“There's a lot of positives for us but we know we need to get better.”
Dickman says he is upbeat about the general improvement in performance level from his side, and says the experience of playing a part in two Papa John’s Trophy wins is already evident in a number of individuals.
“I think the last two or three weeks things have clicked for us as a group,” he said.
“The Papa John's experiences have definitely enhanced the confidence of a handful of the players and helped the development.
“That's been a different experience for them and I think it's done them the world of good.”