Newcastle Under-23s make the short journey to Wearside where they take on local rivals Sunderland in the Premier League 2 derby clash, in a game that Neil Redfearn will hope can kick-start their season.

It is hardly a mouth-watering top of the table clash for between the two second-string sides, however, with both sides making wretched starts to their respective seasons.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Sunderland are rooted to the bottom of the table without a single win, having drawn one and lost six, while Newcastle are only two spots above them, having just six points from their opening seven games.

Last season was a good year for Newcastle’s second-string sides, with the U23s reaching the Premier League 2 play-off final – losing to Southampton – and the Premier League Cup Final where they lost to Everton.

The U21s made it to the last eight of the Northern section of the EFL Trophy, before being beaten by Sunderland’s first team.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

But this season has been a different story, with the U21s losing both games in the EFL Trophy campaign to date, meaning they will not be qualifying for the knockout stages, while the U23s languish in the bottom three.


Newcastle should make coaching changes to U23 set-up if they lose tonight

After a shake-up of the coaching set-up, big things were expected of Neil Redfearn – who took over from Ben Dawson – but so far, things have certainly not gone according to plan.

So tonight is a huge game for both sides, on top of it being a derby game, and one that neither side can really afford to lose.

(Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

I wrote after the U21 side’s defeat at Shrewsbury, that failure to improve things at that level should see Newcastle reinstating Dawson to oversee the U23 team, at the expense of Redfearn.

It remains to be seen if a defeat to the only side without a win, and the only side with a worse goal-difference than themselves, will enforce coaching changes for the remainder of the season.

Kick-off at the Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground tonight is at 7.00pm, for any Newcastle fans who may fancy making the short trip to back the youngsters, and admission is just £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.

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