'It will be a challenge' - young Leeds United U23s set to face Sunderland in Premier League Cup action

Leeds United Under-23s boss Mark Jackson is looking forward to the challenge of facing Sunderland in the Premier League Cup.
Leeds United Under-23s head coach Mark Jackson. Pic: Bruce RollinsonLeeds United Under-23s head coach Mark Jackson. Pic: Bruce Rollinson
Leeds United Under-23s head coach Mark Jackson. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

The Whites travel to the Stadium of Light this afternoon for a second outing in Group E of the competition.

Jackson saw a very young Whites outfit fall to defeat to Wigan Athletic in the opening game of the campaign while the Black Cats lost to Mansfield Town.

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United fielded what was essentially an Under-18s side with a couple of Under-16s against the Latics last month in York.

“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.

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“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.”

Asked if Leeds were expecting to field another young team due to the international break, he added: "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.

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“We did that against Wigan. We didn’t get the result, but I felt there were 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.”