Our under-23s will be hoping to return to winning ways in the Premier League 2 on Saturday when they face Manchester City at City Football Academy.
THE STORY SO FAR
We made a promising start to our PL2 season by going seven games unbeaten, but our run came to a frustrating end last week, as we were well-beaten 3-1 by Chelsea at the EBB Stadium.
It was a special night for Ben Cottrell, who scored on his first-ever start at under-23 level, but a solitary goal from Clinton Mola and a brace from Charlie Brown secured all three points for the visitors.
Prior to that, we’d beaten Blackburn Rovers, Brighton and Leicester City, in addition to holding last season’s champions, Everton, to a hard-fought 2-2 draw.
We’re currently fourth in the table on 13 points, just five points behind league leaders Chelsea.
Folarin Balogun remains our top scorer with seven goals in eight appearances, the second highest in the division.
Manchester City head into this fixture struggling for form, having picked up just one PL2 win all season.
Those three points arrived in the form of an impressive 4-1 victory over Liverpool, but they’ve since failed to win any of their last four league outings, losing three and drawing once. Only Tottenham Hotspur are worse off in the form table.
However, it’s worth keeping an eye out for promising winger Jayden Braaf, who has scored three goals in seven appearances this season. The 17-year-old is a Netherlands youth international, and often looks to cut inside from the left onto his favoured right foot.
City are currently bottom of the PL2 table on five points, but a win on Sunday could see them climb as high as eighth.
ONE TO WATCH
Cottrell will be keen to maintain his place in the starting XI on Saturday following his impressive display against Chelsea last week.
The 17-year-old has been in fine form for our under-18s this season, scoring two goals in two league appearances, but now he’ll be hoping to kick on and become a regular at under-23 level.
An attacking midfielder with a wand of a left foot, Cottrell thrives in tight spaces and loves a defence-splitting through ball.
He also has a great understanding with Balogun, having played with him throughout our under-18s’ title-winning 2018/19 season.
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