Sunderland AFC first-team coach Robbie Stockdale has praised the "excellent experience" that the Under-23 side have had during their stint in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Good experience to have
This is has been the first time that Premier League side's have been allowed to put out sides in the cup formerly known as the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. It has been a decent run of form for the Black Cats, with a draw which ended with defeat on penalties to Rochdale, and a 1-0 win over local rivals Hartlepool United at Victoria Park.
They face their only home match of the competition, when they take on Notts County at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, with a win taking them into the next round, and Stockdale has praised that the experience that the cup has brought for the young Black Cats.
"It’s been an excellent experience for our younger players,” he told safc.com.“It’s given our senior players who have needed minutes the opportunity to play in a proper game."
Stockdale added: “And because there’s something on the game it feels a little bit different to regular development fixtures.”
It is also looking on the up for the senior side, with David Moyes' side picking up their first win of the league season, with goals from Victor Anichebe and Jermain Defoe giving them the 2-1 win over AFC Bournemouth. They face another crucial clash after the international break, with Hull City visiting Wearside, but Stockdale focused the win on the South Coast and said that it was long overdue.
“Sometimes it’s the way you win games as much as the way you lose them," he told the Chronicle. "On Mondays after games when you concede late goals it feels like a kick in the guts, you can get deflated sometimes."
“Then there are games when you feel you probably deserved more than you got," the coach admitted.“So to win in those circumstances (falling behind early on, having Steven Pienaar sent off) feels better than a normal win.
Stockdale concluded: “It was overdue. We have underachieved, we should have been sat on more points, that’s pretty clear."
Sunderland AFC will take on Hull City at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, November 19 with kick-off at 3pm BST.