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U18s set for North London derby

Posted on 1 April 2014  - 13:00

John McDermott praised our Under-18s for their efforts at Liverpool at the weekend – and then challenged our youngsters to extend their winning run against Arsenal on Wednesday.

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Joe Pritchard’s second half strike gave the lads a hard-fought 1-0 win at Liverpool Academy on Saturday morning, making it three consecutive away wins in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League.

Reflecting on Saturday’s win on Merseyside, Academy Manager John was particularly pleased with the lads’ defensive endeavours.

“It was a close game in conditions that were a bit breezier than we would normally get, so I thought that made it a little bit scrappy at times,” John said.

“In the second half we did a little bit better, but we showed a real desire and willingness to defend our goal. We didn’t really sparkle in the attacking third on this occasion, but I feel we did enough to win the game without being at our best.”

The fixtures continue to come thick and fast for the lads, with an away game at Arsenal on Wednesday next on the agenda.

John admitted squad rotation could come into play due to the busy schedule both sides are facing at present, but he backed whoever takes to the field to sieze their opportunity in the testing environment of a North London derby.

“It’s a time of the season where there’s a lot of games to play and a many clubs are now cramming matches in,” John added. “We’ve had a lot of fixtures and some lads are away on international duty so there are a few factors to take into consideration in terms of selection.

“But it’s obviously a local derby. Arsenal will be determined to beat us, we’ll be determined to beat them and both teams will be looking to play well. It should be a good game.”

Meanwhile, Saturday’s home Barclays Under-18 Premier League fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers will now kick-off at the earlier time of 11am.