Hunter expecting a tough test

By SFC Media time Sun 28 Aug Sunderland U23 vs Saints U23

Martin Hunter expects another strong test for his Under-23 side when they take on Sunderland this afternoon in the Premier League 2.

Southampton have won both of their opening games at that level, and take on a Black Cats side who have taken four points from their opening two fixtures.

Sunderland traditionally have a competitive team in this competition and finished second in the table in the previous Under-21 format last season.

“We’ve played up at Sunderland before and they’re always a tough opposition,” Technical Director Hunter explained to

“They were within a shout of winning the league last season and having seen a couple of their games they’re doing well again this season.”

Hunter wants his Saints side to take the positives from their own fine start to the campaign into this match, and expects a different type of opponent from their previous two matches.

“We’re expecting a more direct team to play against us so we’ve got to deal with that threat,” he highlighted.

“They’ve got some pace and power in the team, so we need to be at our best and continue playing the way we want to play and to develop.

“We’ve got six points from two games and that’s fantastic, but the manner of both victories in terms of the way we played is the most pleasing thing. You can look at both of the games and say that’s how a Southampton team wants to play, and we’ll try that again on Sunday.”

There will be a quick turnaround from this game to their Checkatrade Trophy clash at Charlton Athletic on Tuesday, and Hunter says that plans are already in motion to see them through both games.

“We play Sunday and Tuesday so the preparations have already started for that and we’ll continue with that,” he said.

“Recovery is big because this season we’ve got a lot more games so cover is important. 

“It’s also about just keeping the players’ feet on the floor,” he added. “We’ve shown them some things in the debriefs and some things that have been excellent, so if we can continue in that mode there’s also some bits in the detail that we need to get better at.”

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