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Newcastle United and Sunderland look forward to Checkatrade Trophy campaigns

8 months ago
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It is Doncaster Rovers v Newcastle United in the opening Checkatrade Trophy group match.

Newcastle’s Under 21s travel for a 7pm kick-off on Tuesday night, to play League One Doncaster’s first team.

Also on Tuesday night, Sunderland’s first team play Stoke’s Under 21s at the Stadium of Light…

Interesting to see what kind of crowd they get for that match.

In charge of the Newcastle under 21s will be Ben Dawson and he sees loads of positives to the competition.

The chance for his young charges to have the chance to play against League One and Two teams, Doncaster to be followed by Notts County and Grimsby.

Ben Dawson:

“I thought it was terrific for us last year, I really did.

“We’re probably not so sure about the group we have at the moment, but previously, we’ve had players who think they should be out playing first-team football, and I think it’s always a good barometer for them to test themselves against some seasoned pros.

“A lot of these lads have played at the top level and they’re dropping down the leagues, or they’ve played at that level for 400 or 500 games.

“I thought it was a really good test for our group last year, and it’ll be an even bigger test this year, which will be good.

“We obviously had two great performances in our first two games – we were excellent against Crewe, who like to play the same kind of football we do, and against Port Vale, we just couldn’t score. We had a lot of the ball in their half, particularly in the second half.

“The step up against Oldham – League One opposition – was a real jump in quality, and I think it opened a lot of the lads’ eyes as to how good the level is.

“We’re expecting the same this time ‘round.

“Doncaster is just down the road. Cliff Byrne is there as a coach – he was with Sunderland’s Under-23s last year and he’ll know a lot about us.

“Notts County have changed manager, but I’m sure they’ll know a lot about us too, having had Kevin Nolan and Shola Ameobi there in the past.

“And Grimsby, I know (manager) Michael Jolley and his assistant, Anthony Limbrick, from the courses and qualifications I’ve done. I’ve got an idea of what kind of football they’ll be trying to play, but I’m sure Mike will have the same idea as to how we’ll try and do things.”

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