Picture credit: @FoLScholars

Sunderland FoL Monkwearmouth Scholars coach Jamie Chandler says his side must be “prepared to battle” against Rochdale AFC North in the NYFL League Cup third round.

The Black Cats suffered a 2-1 league defeat to Rochdale, their only loss so far this season, but that does not seem to faze the manager for next week’s cup tie.

Chandler said: “They (Rochdale) are a direct and physical team who caused us problems.

“However, we will be better prepared and know we have to start better and be prepared to battle before we can play our football.”

Sunderland have started where they left off from their cup double last season and sit seven points clear at the top of the NYFL Midlands Division,

Eight wins from nine league games has given Chandler plenty of food for thought in picking his best starting line-up.

He said: “Every player is performing at such a high standard and it is getting more difficult every week.

“The challenge for the starting eleven who are picked is to keep that shirt as they know we have a squad of 18 who all want to be in that eleven.

“The spirit and camaraderie has been brilliant and that is something we pride ourselves on so even those who aren’t selected play a huge part in supporting the other players.”

With the programme coming to its conclusion for the Scholars next May, Chandler is determined for the second years to end on a high and deliver the same success on the pitch that they achieved last season.

“It is a huge target for the players.

“Last years double was very special and something the lads worked so hard for.

“This year we believe that, in the three competitions we are in, we can compete with anyone and want to win and enjoy that success once again.”