Mark Jackson: The game will be a challenge for us

U23s head coach on Sunderland cup match.

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Mark Jackson will take a youthful looking Under-23s side to face Sunderland on Sunday, in the Premier League Cup.

The match will be played at the Stadium of Light and with a number of the usual squad missing due to international call-ups, the head coach feels it’s an excellent opportunity for the younger players to step up again.

“We’re really looking forward to it this weekend,” Jackson stated.

“Sunderland asked us if we wanted to change the fixture so we could play at the Stadium of Light and we agreed to that.

“It’ll be good for the development of the players, it is always good to play in a big stadium like that and if there are some fans in, that will make it even better.

“This is the type of experience we want to give to our players. Certainly in the Under-18s, they only play on training grounds, so this is a great experience for them in a number of ways.

“The game will certainly be a challenge for us, but it is one we are looking forward to playing in.”

Last time out in this competition saw a young Leeds side lose at home to Wigan. Jackson spoke about how pleased he was with the performance that day and said it will be a similar looking squad on Sunday, setting the challenge of turning the performances into a result this time around.

He said: “This was always the intention for us. When entering the cup, we knew that it would be a tough ask to get these fixtures outside of the international break.

“We always had the likelihood that a number of our players would be away on international duty, so that gave a good opportunity for the younger players to step up to play and see how they get on at Under-23s level.

“We did that against Wigan. We didn’t get the result, but I felt there was a lot of good performances and positives from that game.

“A few of the younger players stepped up, had that experience, and we will be looking for them to have that level of performance again, but also try and push for the result this time.”

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