Derby County Under-18s will look to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League – North to six points as they face Manchester United on Saturday, kick-off 12pm.
Going into the penultimate game of the season the Rams lead second placed Liverpool with a three-point gap and six better goal difference.
However, due to the dates of the Reds’ fixtures, the victor of the Under-18 Premier League – North title will not be crowned champions until at least Derby’s final game of the season against Wolverhampton Wanderers away from home on Saturday 27th April.
Last time out Justin Walker’s side provided stoppage time heroics to secure another point for the title race as they drew 2-2 with Manchester City.
D’Margio Wright-Phillips and Taylor Richards netted for the visitors either side of half-time to hand City a two-goal advantage with an hour played at the Training Centre in partnership with the University of Derby.
However, with minutes to spare Derby showed their character as a looping cross from Morgan Whittaker found Connor Dixon who calmly controlled and dispatched to claw the Rams back in it.
With seconds to spare Whittaker turned from provider to scorer as he was fouled by the goalkeeper in the City area before stepping up and dispatching the resulting spot-kick from 12 yards.
Saturday’s opponents, Manchester United, come in to the game in fine form having been unbeaten in their previous eight league games, drawing five and winning three.
The red half of Manchester share similar form with the Rams, having also drawn 2-2 with Manchester City in their previous fixture.
Ethan Galbraith and Dylan Levitt were on target for the Red Devils in that tie which leaves United fourth in the Premier League – North table, trailing Derby by eight points.
Last time Derby met United; the two sides played out a 3-3 draw back in August at their AON Training Complex in Carrington.
Kick-off on Saturday at the Training Centre in Partnership with the University of Derby is at 12pm.
Words by Andrew Haines