Derby County Under-18s travel to Aston Villa on Saturday as they look to secure progression to the next stage of the Premier League Cup.
The game is the last of the two sides’ group matches in the competition with both teams requiring a victory to advance safely into the knockout phase.
Justin Walker’s side have earned three points from their two matches so far, opening with a 4-3 win at Reading before being defeated 2-1 by Middlesbrough.
Their loss to Boro is the only occasion on which the young Rams have been beaten in their last eight, having triumphed on the other seven outings, scoring 26 goals.
Villa currently sit seventh in the Premier League - South and come into their meeting with Walker’s side off the back of three successive defeats.
Like Derby, they are on three points in the Premier League Cup at present having beaten Middlesbrough 3-2 prior to a 4-3 loss at the hands of Reading.
Their most recent meeting with the young Rams was in this competition last season as braces from Morgan Whittaker and Tyree Wilson secured Derby’s progression to the next round in a 4-2 victory.
ONE TO WATCH…
Rams striker Jack Stretton is a man in-form right now. The 18-year-old has found the net five times in his last four matches, including doubles in recent wins against IK Akranes and Wolves.
The frontman, who was key to last season’s title success, is already well on course to match or even better his tally from the previous campaign, having so far struck eight, six less than he totalled last term.
Only Archie Brown is ahead of Stretton in the Under-18s’s goalscoring rankings, with the winger firing ten thus far.
Words by: Jack Hasler