By Sam Johnson, Adam Smith and Alex Baxter

On Wednesday, Sunderland AFC Foundation of Light Scholars face Barnet FC Scholars in the NFYL trophy semi-final.

Advancing to the final would give the Scholars an exciting opportunity to play at a football league stadium.

Sunderland will be full of confidence going into the game having just beaten Crystal Palace Scholars B 7-1. Barnet, meanwhile, are without a win in four games.

Speaking before the game, Sunderland head coach Martin Jones said: “I’m extremely proud of them and I couldn’t be any happier.

“Their application and the way that they apply themselves to training is fantastic.”

The players are working hard before the big game and vice captain Codie Howe is looking forward to the potential of playing inside a football league stadium.

“Who wouldn’t want to play inside a big ground in front of so many fans, everyone’s excited about that,” said Howe.

Reaching the semi-final is a very respectable achievement for Sunderland as they also sit 2nd in the league, just a point behind leaders Coventry Scholars, in their first season of the scholarship programme.

The semi-final takes place on Wednesday February 29 at Monkwearmouth academy at 1.30pm.