Sunderland 3rds boss Ray Whitfield is hoping his side can improve after the winter period and escape from the relegation zone.

The Wearsiders are one point adrift as they sit bottom of the Northern 6B League. However, the Sunderland manager is satisfied with what he’s seeing from his players.

“We had a rough start to the season as my team which was picked at trials was depleted, by players going to other sides within the University. Apart from that we are building ourselves back up and have proved that we can compete, being the only side to compete against the top team in the league,” said Whitfield.

“I think we are all surprised really with how well we’re doing this year, but we need to try and improve that little bit more.”

Sunderland returns to action at the end of January when they travel to Hull, and Whitfield is demanding for his side to be more clinical in front of goal to try and move out of the relegation spot.

The Wearsiders have collected four points from their opening six matches, and when they return after Christmas, they will have four remaining fixtures.

“I’m hoping they don’t eat all the chocolates and turkey and come back like stuffing balls.

“The first few sessions will be tough, but I remain positive and hope that my players start firing on all cylinders.”