Leeds United boss Neil Redfearn has given his thoughts on what playing Sunderland in the FA Cup means for his younger players.
Leeds United head coach Neil Redfearn has explained how the FA Cup tie against Sunderland will benefit his younger players.
The Whites were paired with the experienced Premier League side in the third round draw yesterday and face a difficult game away to a side battling in the bottom half of the Premier League.
However, Redfearn has tipped Leeds to take plenty of support to the game and has stressed how it can benefit his predominantly younger squad.
“It is a great tie. Playing a Premier League club is a good draw for us and it will give our young side, with a lot of talent, the chance to pit their wits against a top-flight side, which is great,” Redfearn told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“A lot of these young players here are going to play at a higher stage, so it will be a good test for them and one they will relish.”
Leeds are rated as having some of the best young players in England and that’s partly down to the superb work that Redfearn did with the academy when he was in charge of the youth ranks at the club.
It will be a good experience because Sunderland have some experienced players at Premier League level.
Redfearn can play on that and encourage his younger stars to try and prove that they’ve got the edge on the supposedly higher quality and more experienced players.
“The cup is a nice distraction and obviously a great game for us in terms of seeing how far we have come.”
The ultimate aim for Leeds is to be promoted back into the Premier League.
If the club are going to pull themselves into the play-offs by the end of the season and promotion becomes a realistic possibility, then this game will be looked back on in terms of where Leeds need to improve moving forward.
However, for now the focus stays on the league and generating momentum ahead of the game on the first weekend in January.