After playing an hour against Boro for the U23s on Monday, Duncan Watmore will get another run out next Tuesday, when Sunderland face Notts County in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Jack Ross explained: “It was another big step for him, and he did well. It was a competitive game on Monday. All Under-23 games are competitive to an extent, but I think with it being a derby match, it had that bit of competitiveness about it. He had to withstand challenges in it that were reflective of how a normal game will be. He trained again today, and obviously we’ve look at the Checkatrade game on Tuesday, and potentially his involvement in that. If he does become involved in that, it’s another really big step for him because it is a first-team game. That’s him pretty much there, which is brilliant for us, and brilliant for him, first and foremost. I just want to continue to progress in whatever we’re playing in. I said before the first round (of the FA Cup) that I would never pretend that promotion isn’t the absolute priority for us, and that we would sacrifice everything else for that. But we want to continue to progress in all the tournaments we’re involved in. For me, this tournament is still a big tournament. To progress in it, we’re going to have to work harder than we’ve had to in a lot of recent years, just because of when we entered the tournament, but the incentive is there to progress to the next round, regardless of whether other teams are entering the competition then or not. We just want to keep progressing in the tournament – I don’t want to come out of it to ease fixture congestion, I want us to stay in it for as long as we can.”

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