U18s set for Stoke clash
Posted by nickogs20 on September 26, 2008
United’s Academy side will make the short journey to Stoke tomorrow morning looking to preserve their unbeaten record in 08/09.
The clash at the Michelin Sports Ground is United’s first against fellow FAPAL Group C opposition. Stoke finished bottom of the group last season – losing to the Reds 2-1 at home (goals from Matty James and Danny Drinkwater) and picking up a 2-2 draw at Carrington (both United goals from Kiko Macheda) – and this season sit eighth of the ten teams, although their record of won 2, drawn 1, lost 1 and the fact they’ve (like United) only played four games suggests that such a lowly position is a little misleading.
Stoke’s danger-man appears to be striker Warwick Alexander, who scored in each of the Potters’ first three games (wins over Charlton and Leeds and a remarkable 7-1 home defeat by Bristol City). Skipper Nathaniel Wedderburn is another to look out for – he scored Stoke’s goal last week as George Foster’s side earned a creditable 1-1 draw at Newcastle.
United will go into the game looking to re-find the defensive solidarity that saw them last 320 minutes into the season without conceding a goal. That run was ended by Aleksander Prijovic’s equaliser for Derby early in the second half last Saturday, and with both that goal and Derby’s second coming from corners, there will have been plenty of work on the training ground this week on defending set-pieces (if Stoke’s U18s are anything like their senior counterparts it will be needed).
Paul McGuinness has essentially the same group of players as last week to pick from. Joshua King and Robert Brady were forced to withdraw from international duty in midweek and will again be absent tomorrow, while Scott Moffatt is still a few months away from a return and Joe Dudgeon, although now back in training, will likely need another couple of weeks before he can be thrust back into action. The other main doubt is Lee Askham – there has been no word this week on whether he is still on trial, whether he has been signed or whether he has left the club, so it’s very much a case of having to wait and see whether the winger’s name appears on the teamsheet tomorrow. Davide Petrucci should be fit to return after missing out last week.
The game kicks-off at the usual time of 11am and MUTV are again showing the game live. We’ll have brief news of the result and scorers up straight after the final whistle and a full report after the first team’s match with Bolton.
United (from): Devlin, Woods; Brown, Gill, Strickland, Wootton; Askham(?), Curran, James, Norwood, Petrucci, Stewart; Ajose, Brandão, Macheda.