The University of Sunderland 3rds have suffered three straight defeats following their victory over Hull Mens 4ths in October, but manager Ray Whitfield is “feeling optimistic” ahead of their derby clash against University of Sunderland 2nds.

The Wearsiders have conceded 18 goals in their last three matches and haven’t picked up a single point in that bad spell. Whitfield admits his side have a tough test tomorrow and is relishing the battle.

“It’s the first time since our only win that we have a full squad. We’ve trained well and there’s a great atmosphere between the lads. It’s a tough game too with it being against the Uni’s 2nd team but as long as the lads enjoy it then I’ll be happy,” said the manager.

“Nobody likes losing but the good teams can use those negatives to propel themselves on. The mood was really positive on Monday night but I think that with bragging rights up for grabs, I’m sure that all the players will be self-motivated and want to do well. Our captain, Jack Mensforth is a great character to have around the team and that also helps.”

Both sides go into this fixture on three points, but with a less-superior goal difference to the 2nds, Whitfield’s side sit in the relegation zone ahead of this encounter.

“If they put the effort in like they did on Monday, and with an almost full strength squad, I can really see us giving the 2nds a good game. We pose a great threat going forward and I expect goals to be scored tomorrow.

“We play with a distinct formation which is different to a lot of teams we will face and that makes the opposition really think – tomorrow will be no different. I’m feeling optimistic.”

Kick-off against University of Sunderland 2nds is 2pm at Silksworth Sports Complex.