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CLIVE ON BIG NIGHT

Posted on 3 May 2006  - 12:00

Clive Allen said he has a good idea of what to expect when our reserve team take on Manchester United in the play-off final at Old Trafford on Thursday evening.

Clive Allen said he has a good idea of what to expect when our reserve team take on Manchester United in the play-off final at Old Trafford on Thursday evening.

Our boys qualified by virtue of winning the Barclays Premiership Reserve League South, while United won the Northern section - fending off the challenge of Aston Villa to win it with a game to spare.

The Development Coach admitted he has taken the opportunity to see what our lads will be up against when they conclude their season in the north west.

"I have had a look at their games to see what we are coming up against," reported Clive. "They are an excellent side, as you would expect, it is Manchester United and they have excellent traditions with young players and developing them.

"The reserve group is where they keep - similar to us - a number of their young ones playing regularly. They have done particularly well in winning the northern section and it is back to back championships for them.

"I am intrigued to see how our boys will match up against them. One or two of theirs have had the opportunity to step up to the first team - as ours have - and that is the progress you want, that is the incentive the young players need to have.

"Manchester United have a similar philosophy to us in giving their young ones a chance. I think it will be a very interesting game."

Clive went on to pick out a few of the United number who have caught his eye, although a couple of their regulars might well be called on for first team duty at the weekend and be unavailable for the play-off.

"Gerard Pique has been in the first team squad lately and hasn't played in their last few games, they've got another very talented front player in Fraizer Campbell who is very quick and him paired with Giuseppe Rossi is a very potent partnership.

They've got Markus Neumayr, the captain - a Beckham look-alike who plays in the same position - who is a fantastic technician. There is Darron Gibson and Jonny Evans, who has just signed pro, at the back.

"They have got a nucleus of players who are under 20 that are going to provide a very tough test for us, but one I know the players are really excited about. It is a fantastic stage to go and play on.

"It is such a good game for both clubs to cap off a very successful season."