We host the Gunners in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League on Friday evening – kick-off 7pm.
Shaq, who captained the side in Monday’s 1-0 win at Middlesbrough, says the chance to represent the club in a North London derby at the Lane represents an amazing chance for our youngsters – insisting everyone in the side is prepared to give their all in a bid to topple our rivals in front of our own fans.
“Nobody needs to be told about the importance of the game and what it means to the club and all the players and supporters, so everyone will be ready,” said Shaq, who has made one first team appearance at the Lane this season – coming on as a late substitute in December’s Europa League victory over Anji Makhachkala.
“It’s about our players and our development, but we know Arsenal will be good so we’re ready for anything they’ve got.
“It’s really big for us as players because they’re our biggest rivals and everyone will be up for it. Everyone knows what we have to do.”
It’s been a positive month for our Under-21s on the domestic scene. Monday’s win at Middlesbrough followed a comprehensive 5-2 victory against West Bromwich Albion a fortnight previously.
And Shaq says those results mean we go into Friday’s derby with momentum on our side.
“We had to grind out a good old fashioned 1-0 win against Middlesbrough, but we went into that game with a lot of form from the previous match as well,” he added. “With those results in the bag, we’re confident and ready to go.”