Sunderland coach has this encouraging message on progress so far and building a club identity

Jamie McAllister says there is still much to come from Sunderland after their positive start to the campaign.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 6:00 am

The Black Cats dropped to fourth in the League One table after their international break, but are just one point behind Plymouth Argyle at the top and have played two games less.

Two Papa John's Trophy wins over the last week also underlined the progress that has been made in recent months with regards to implementing the new playing philosophy throughout the age groups.

McAllister says the fact that many of the summer additions are still adapting to life at a new club means there is still plenty of untapped potential.

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Sunderland celebrate their opening goal against Manchester United U21s on Wednesday evening

"There's a still of improvement to come from us," the assistant head coach said.

"We brought in around nine players and they're still getting up to speed, adapting to the philosophy and understanding what we require physically, mentally and tactically.

"It's coming, but we've never been looking for a quick fix.

"We've brought in talent who we think can improve us, the average age has come down from 28.4 last year to 24.7, or around there.

"We want young, hungry, enthusiastic players who can improve us and improve with us.

"Even the coaching staff, we've brought in David Preece to work with the goalkeepers and Phil Jevons to help with the process as well.

"And it's so important to us that we filter that all the way down through the academy.

"Everyone is enthusiastic about the future and we think we've got that buy-in which is important.

"We know you need results to get that, but hopefully the wheels are in motion now and it's up to us to keep that going, to push on and really achieve what we want."

The senior coaching staff have placed integration with the academy at the heart of their project an it's another area McAllister says will only improve over time.

"We want to have that continuity and togetherness to push this huge club forward," he said.

"Even the other night we went to watch the U15s play Newcastle United and it was a great game. Finished 3-3, Newcastle scored in the last minute but the boys were excellent and deserved to win.

"It's really important we have that link, and we know the fans want to identify with the team that is out there, one that gives everything for the shirt and plays in a style that is entertaining.

"On the front foot, energetic.

"That's what we're trying to bring all the way down the club and it's building nicely towards where it should be.

"It's going to take time but the first steps have been good.

"We're one team and if you're good enough, you're old enough.

"It's important to show there is a pathway and you see that in the lads who are 16/17 coming into the side the other night.

"Age is not a factor in how we pick the team, it's all about ability.

"We have that communication through the age groups so we know who is ready to step up."

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