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Sunderland boss unhappy about drawing Newcastle United kids in Checkatrade Trophy

10 months ago
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Saturday saw Sunderland get the draw they very definitely didn’t want in the Checkatrade Trophy.

The last 16 seeing the Sunderland first team drawn to play against Newcastle United’s kids (Under 21s).

Newcastle fans were desperate for the draw to fall that way whilst Sunderland supporters had mixed feelings but generally wanted to avoid the embarrassment of this bizarre possibility.

One person at the Stadium of Light who certainly didn’t want to see the north east clubs drawn together, was Jack Ross.

Before Saturday’s draw the Sunderland boss said it wouldn’t be ‘ideal’ and when it did become the reality, Ross repeated that view, saying it would be an unwanted ‘different dynamic’ if you had such a derby match.

The game will be played week commencing Monday 7 January at the Stadium of Light and as well as for Jack Ross, it will be a headache for Northumbria Police.

Jack Ross referred to Port Vale playing Stoke’s kids last week as another example of a less than ideal derby, Port Vale won 4-0 but the headlines were all about the trouble between the two sets of fans off it.

Maybe a great example of the law of unintended circumstances the problems these derby matches are causing, the Checkatrade Trophy organisers having taken action to keep Newcastle (Under 21s) and Sunderland apart in the group stage, as they did with Southampton (Under 21s) and Portsmouth, to avoid possible friction off the pitch.

However, with it being a cup competition, they couldn’t keep local rivals apart forever, if teams keep winning.

The fact the last 16 was still on a regional basis massively increased the odds of the pair meeting, as only six other sides were in Newcastle and Sunderland’s (northern) half of the draw.

Obviously all eyes focused on what happens at this game in early January but also, interesting to see what the tournament organisers decide to do next season, with regard to Under 21 teams and these possible derbies.

Jack Ross talking to the Sunderland Echo:

After the Checkatrade draw:

“As I said previously, not just Newcastle United, I don’t think any U21 side is an ideal draw for a senior team.

“But it is what it is.

“We have treated the competition properly and we will do the same (again), we want to progress in it.”

Before the draw:

“It would be an unusual set of circumstances (drawing Newcastle) and I wouldn’t want to labour on it too much but we’ve seen that with another derby in the week [Port Vale v Stoke City U21s].

“There’s a different dynamic when you have a derby match and it is one first team and one U21s.

“It’s not ideal and I think everyone would appreciate that at any derby throughout the country.

“It’s an interesting competition, that you can decide whether you want to play home or away as well, some teams get to do that, which is interesting.

“They tell us not to devalue the competition but that is an aside to what the main story [drawing Newcastle’s kids] from it will be.”

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