Derby County Under-18s face table-toppers Manchester City on Saturday as they look to earn a fourth successive Premier League - North victory.
The Young Rams travel to the Manchester City Academy Stadium in fantastic form, having triumphed in eight of their last ten matches in all competitions.
This run, which includes just a single defeat, has seen Justin Walker’s side find the net on 34 occasions as they continue to impress in a multitude of competitions.
One of these is the UEFA Youth League in which the Rams progressed to the play-off round on Wednesday night. They did this is in superb style as they overcame IK Akranes 4-1 courtesy of strikes from Jack Stretton and Archie Brown alongside a Jason Knight double to secure a 6-2 aggregate win.
In U18 Premier League - North, Derby currently sit fifth, six points behind first-placed Manchester City after registering three wins on-the-bounce, seeing off Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland before thrashing Wolves 5-0 earlier this month.
At present, City are situated at the summit of the league table, two points ahead of their closest challengers Liverpool.
Like Derby, they are in the midst of a purple patch having tasted victory in ten of their 12 matches this campaign. Impressively, they have failed to score three or more times in only one of these wins, putting a number of teams to the sword in recent weeks.
Their last meeting with the Under-18s ended in a 2-2 draw as Connor Dixon and Morgan Whittaker scored in stoppage time to salvage Derby a point at Moor Farm Training Centre.
ONE TO WATCH…
Winger Archie Brown is on fire at the moment. The 17-year-old is the Rams’ top scorer this season having fired home 12 goals in 17 appearances for the Under-18s.
The speedy wideman has struck in each of his last three matches, including an equaliser in the dying seconds of last weekend’s 3-3 draw at Aston Villa.
Alongside fellow in-form attackers Bartosz Cybulski, Jack Stretton and Tyree Wilson, there is no doubt Brown will be a key cog in Walker’s wheel as his side bid to take all three points at the residence of the league leaders on Saturday.
Words by: Jack Hasler