Phil Parkinson sat down to update the fans on the situation regarding our youth squad, where he feels the first team are at and what he has made of the opening fixtures so far.

Parkinson on the season so far

On the start to the season so far, Parkinson said he was “Relatively please but you always want more, two points per game isn’t bad, I thought pre season was excellent considering the Lads had had the extended break and they came back in very good shape. I think we played well against Hull and deserved to win the game, we were unlucky against Bristol Rovers, even though we did look a bit frantic after we had conceded early on but we regained our composure after 20 minutes. I think against Peterborough we could’ve played with a bit more tempo in the first half and we should’ve beaten Charlton, especially after the first half performance – we should have went into the break a couple of goals ahead. We need to put the ball in the net when we get the chances. It’s not often you dominate for the full 90 minutes but we need to capitalise on those spells of heavy pressure. The game against Carlisle shows that it’s not over until the ref blows his whistle, I thought we got a bit sloppy at 4-1 but it’s a lesson to be learned going into the season. The lads are working hard on the training pitch, we need to give that feeling that we’re hard to play against. We want teams to come to the Stadium of Light and have a tough time. We need to show our desire to put our bodies on the line to be successful, which we’re doing and I’m happy about that part of our game.”

The Boss on the squad

“Denver (Hume) has really stepped up to the plate and has fitted into the first team very well, Luke (O’Nien) has been outstanding and has shown he is a versatile player, we played him at left sided centre half the other night and he put in a great performance but we cannot take his performances for granted. I am so pleased for Grant (Leadbitter) he has been fantastic, he put in a great performance in the pre season and it’s good to have him back. No matter whether you’re 33, 34, 35 or 18, everyone has an equal chance to prove their place in the starting line-up.”

PP on the youth team

“Dan Neil is looking good; he is in a good place physically and mentally. He is determined to play his part for us this season; he’s got himself in the team and has put in some great performances for us. I’m very pleased the under 23s beat Newcastle on Monday, it’s been difficult for results at that level so we’ve tried to strengthen the youth academy team up so that was a big result for us. We need to integrate and we want them lads to push into the first team squad. The players who did well in that game, a few of them trained with the first-team and I think that crossover is really important. We want the players in that group to push into the first-team squad and if they play well and perform well and train well when they come over with us, they’ve got a chance to stay there.”