Derby County Under-18s will be looking to instantly bounce back from their UEFA Youth League exit earlier this week as they face Wolverhampton Wanderers Under-18s away from home on Saturday morning (11am kick-off) in their latest Under-18 Premier League - North fixture.
Following their historical victory against Borussia Dortmund at Pride Park in the previous round, the Rams bowed out of the competition in the last 16 as they were beaten 4-1 by FC Salzburg in the week.
However, there is no time to dwell on the defeat though as focus immediately switches back to the league where a trip to the West Midlands awaits. Justin Walker and his side travel to the Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground to face a Wolves side who sit just two places below Derby in the Under-18 Premier League – North table.
Saturday’s hosts have struggled to maintain a consistent run of results in the league with just three wins in their last eleven fixtures. This, combined with defeat to Chelsea in the FA Youth Cup, sees them with very little left to play for this season.
Derby, on the other hand, have transformed their fortunes in the league with four wins in their last five matches including a brilliant 2-1 win away at Manchester United last time out. Another three points at the weekend could see the Rams leapfrog Stoke in 4th with the potential to also close the gap to second-placed Liverpool to just a single point.
The trip to Wolves is the penultimate away match of the season for last term’s champions and a win will set them up perfectly for three consecutive home games through March and April. When the two sides met back in November, Derby were thoroughly dominant and secured a 5-0 win thanks to goals from Jack Stretton (2), Archie Brown, Festy Ebosele and Tyree Wilson.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Bradley Foster has been in terrific form for the Rams between the sticks both in the league and in Europe. Despite conceding four in Austria on Wednesday, he made some great saves at crucial times to keep his side in the match, including a wonderful reaction stop to keep a deflected cross from nestling inside his near post. His impact has played a key role in the team’s strong recent results..
Theo Corbeanu is the danger man for Wolves as he has netted in each of his side’s last three victories. The Derby midfielders will have to keep a special eye on him as his ability to score and create goals could provide a problem on Saturday.
Words by Ed Mackey