SUNDERLAND Reserves take on West Brom Reserves at Eppleton Colliery Welfare in Hetton tonight, with hopes of winning their league still alive.
A run of five wins and two draws saw Keith Bertschin’s side soar to the top of the Barclays Premier Reserve League early last month, though they’d played more games than their rivals.
Those games in hand have now largely been played out and the contest for the title turning into a three-horse race.
Blackburn Rovers have taken a lead at the top of the table with Sunderland second, two points behind. Liverpool lie third, a point behind Sunderland with a game in hand. But the Wearsiders can do their cause a power of good this evening if they can overcome the West Midlanders on home soil.
Bertschin has been delighted with the way his overwhelmingly youthful side has progressed this season and hopes they can finish with a flourish.
“It’s nice to be in with a shout of winning the title and I’m sure that the lads will use that as an extra incentive,” he said. “But I just want us to finish the season strongly.
“We’ve done really well as a group over the last few months and I’m proud of the team spirit and determination they’ve shown. Having done so well over the last couple of months, I’ll be looking for the lads to carry on that good work and finish the campaign strongly.
“At this moment in time the most important thing is that players get experience at as high a level as they can – so to a certain extent, the result is not the most important thing.
“But I have to say that players love winning and you can see how much the lads have enjoyed this sequence of good results.
“Hopefully we can keep a good run going to the end of the season and perhaps look at the table then.”