Sunderland U18s boss Mark Atkinson has asked for his players to build on last month’s positive display – starting with Everton today.

The teenage Black Cats have not played a competitive match since September 30 – where they lost 6-2 away to an undefeated Manchester City.

Wins against West Ham United and Stoke City had earlier been recorded, and Atkinson is remaining upbeat ahead of the visit of fourth place Everton.

Atkinson told “A lot of the lads went home over the period so it is good for them to see their families,” he said.

“We are glad to be back in and we have been working hard all week and we are ready to go.

“It has been a stop-start season but we have got a lot of games till Christmas now.

“There is plenty of football to play, everyone is beginning to get back fit and that gives us plenty of decisions to make.”

Last time out, Sunderland were level with Man City until in the final 20 minutes, the league leaders began to pick the young Black Cats apart.

“The City game for 70 minutes was pleasing,” said Atkinson

“We did what we wanted to do and the lads did really well. We sort of lost our way when we conceded the fourth goal and fatigue began to kick in.

“Obviously, it is another opportunity this weekend against a good Everton side. It is another game where we can get more of an understanding of where they are at.

“In the Stoke game we were good in and out of possession, we controlled it for large periods and we always looked a threat going forward.

“We have got to build on the performances we have shown recently.”