Sunderland Under-23s gearing up for European clash with Athletic Club Bilbao B

Joel Asoro in action for Sunderland Under-23s
Joel Asoro in action for Sunderland Under-23s
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Sunderland Under-23s are stepping up their preparations ahead of a crunch European fixture next week.

Elliott Dickman’s side return to European action when they welcome Athletic Club Bilbao B to Wearside in the quarter-finals of the Premier League International Cup.

The Black Cats host the Spanish side at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, February 15 (KO 7pm) as they bid to progress to the semi-final stage of the competition.

Sunderland topped group A following two wins and a draw from their opening three fixtures, while Athletic Club progressed after they finished runners-up in Group F behind German side Hertha BSC.

Sunderland’s Under-23s were last in action on Friday night when they were beaten 4-1 by Manchester City in Premier League 2.

And new Under-23 manager Dickman, who took over recently from Andy Welsh, wants to see a response from his players.

He said: “There is plenty to work on, we will do that and hopefully the lads will be receptive to what we want to do.

“We need to be clinical in both boxes – defensively and attacking – so we have got to be ruthless at both ends and that’s what let us down.”

Entry for the Premier League International Cup tie is priced at £3 for adults and £1 for under 16s and over 65s.

A club statement read: “Fans can gain entry through West Stand turnstiles 1-8 and 17-24, which will be open from 6am.

“Supporters are reminded that due to competition rules there is no free entry for season card holders for this fixture.”