Kevin Ball has no doubts, he says Sunderland’s quartet of first-teamers will reap the benefits from an outing for the Under-21s.
Phil Bardsley, Kader Mangane, David Vaughan and Keiren Westwood all completed the full 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.
Kevin Ball: “When you’re not playing in the first-team you can do all the training you want – but it’s a totally different concept playing a game.
“Whether that’s at Under-21 level or wherever, the pitch dimensions makes everything totally different.
“It does them the world of good, and when the opportunity arises, I encourage the manager to play them.
“I also think it’s good for the younger players, because they enjoy playing alongside them.”
“Kader got a whack on the chops, but it’ll take a big whack to stop him!
“I thought in the first half we had a few opportunities where we should have been at least looking to hit the target.
“I wasn’t particularly happy at half-time – I felt we could do better. We started the second half a lot better, but then lost our way a bit.”
SUNDERLAND: Westwood, Bardsley, Ferguson, Vaughan, Harrison, Mangane, Reed, Laidler, Noble, Mandron, Lynch (Mitchell, 81).