Having secured a 2-2 draw at Luton Town before coming up short in a penalty shootout in our opening match in Group F back in August, our Under-21s head to the Cherry Red Records Stadium for another taste of senior football against a Dons side battling hard in the lower reaches of League One.
The hosts drew 0-0 with Rochdale on Saturday and Justin Cochrane, assistant coach to Wayne Burnett with our Development Squad, revealed that a clutch of our young players undertook a personal scouting mission at the weekend to aid the team’s preparations in advance of Tuesday’s match.
“Four of the players – Ryan Loft, George Marsh, Oliver Skipp and Joe Pritchard – went to the game against Rochdale and fed back to the group about what they saw and what to expect,” said Justin.
“They made some notes, looked at players and looked at the system – although it may be something different (on Tuesday) – so it was good for them to go and have a look at how they play. They delivered their findings on Sunday, spoke about their strengths and weaknesses and it was positive because we like to give ownership to the players. They’re young men now, they need to study football and it was important for them to go out and see a League One game. It was a good educational exercise for them really. Wayne and myself have watched some of their games as well so we know it’ll be a tough test but it’s one we’re looking forward to.”
There could be a few familiar faces lining up against us on Tuesday with former Academy players George Francomb, Andy Barcham and Dean Parrett all now on the books at Wimbledon. Forward Barcham made one first team appearance for us in a League Cup tie with Port Vale in 2006 while midfielder Parrett played four times in the UEFA Cup and Europa League between 2009 and 2011.
“It’ll be good to play against those boys. Dean was here, he’s been educated at Tottenham and people speak fondly of him here – in fact the boys who went to their game against Rochdale said that he was one of their dangerous players,” added Justin.
“Our boys are really looking forward to the challenge. It’s another opportunity to play against senior players after the match against Luton Town, which was a tough game but a good challenge for the players which they stood up to, albeit with a tough first 20 minutes.
“We’ve got to be competitive in everything we do. We’ve got young players here who have got aspirations of playing first team football so this is like a league tie for us, playing against experienced players who have played many league games on a Tuesday night at a good ground. I’m sure there’ll be some supporters there as well and AFC Wimbledon will be looking to do well in this tournament, so it’ll be a big challenge for us.”
Kick-off is at 7.45pm. AFC Wimbledon today confirmed ticket details for the fixture on their website.