Derby County Under-18s head into their fixture against Sunderland this weekend looking to bounce back from a second defeat of the season last time out.

A 4-2 loss to Everton came last Saturday to end the Rams’ seven-match unbeaten run in all competitions, but Justin Walker’s side were perhaps unfortunate after going ahead twice in the game at USM Finch Farm.

Morgan Whittaker opened the scoring before an Everton penalty levelled things up, and Derby would regain the lead through Archie Brown.

The score was 2-2 at half-time as the hosts fought back, but it wasn’t until the closing stages that they were able to net their third and fourth to finally settle the game.

Despite that result, the Rams sit inside the top-four with 17 points from nine games in Premier League-North and manager Walker still took a lot of pride from his side’s display.

He said: “I’m proud of their performance. I don’t think that the 4-2 reflected the game for one reason or another.

“Everton are a good team without the ball. They work you, are physical and we couldn’t really get our rhythm going from what we have had in previous weeks. But, overall, I was pleased with our performance.”

Saturday’s opponents in Sunderland have found the start to the 2018/19 season tough and currently sit in 10th place after collecting six points from their first eight matches.

In the two clashes between these two sides last season, two away wins came as the Rams came away from the North-East with a 3-0 victory before Sunderland triumphed 1-0 at the Derby County Training Centre.

It has been a successful campaign to date for Derby in terms of results and development of players moving up the club’s age groups, and they will be hoping to further improve these positive signs deep into the season.