Adam Robinson’s Derby County Under-18s will look to put a heavy 6-1 defeat to Blackburn Rovers behind them as they host Newcastle United on Saturday in the Under-18 Premier League - North on Saturday.
Derby started the season in an impressive way with a 3-0 victory away to Middlesbrough with three different goalscorers, but were out-gunned in the second half of their game with Blackburn in a forgettable meeting with the early table-toppers.
Their trip to Liverpool prior to the two-week international break was called off due to a number of positive COVID-19 cases in the Academy. The match against the Reds has been re-arranged for later this month.
Despite the result against Rovers, new arrival Dubem Eze got off the mark for his new club - the midfielder was brought in from Chelsea in July and has made a positive start to his time in the club's Academy..
Newcastle have also made a mixed start to their season, with one win, one draw and one defeat from their opening three league fixtures. Twelve goals were scored in their first game; however, eight of them went the way of their opponents Burnley in an 8-4 reverse.
A 2-2 draw with Wolves preceded a comfortable 3-0 win over Stoke City, with Neil Winskill’s side seemingly growing in confidence with each passing game.
Newcastle have scored eight goals in their first three games, with striker Michael Ndiweni scoring four of them, including two in their most recent victory, so limiting the in-form forward’s chances may be the key to success for Derby this weekend.
On Saturday, victory for Derby will take them above their opponents with a game in hand as they look to get back to winning ways.
To do so, Robinson may revert to the 4-1-4-1 formation that found success in the victory over Middlesbrough, allowing his wide midfielders in Reece Nicholas-Davies and Marko Borkovic to push further forward. Both players scored in the Boro win.
The defence will have to be on form to keep out the likes of the aforementioned Ndiweni and Jamie Milley, who scored two from midfield in the draw to Wolves.
Overall, based on the games these two sides have been involved in this season, it is sure to be an entertaining, high-scoring affair at Moor Farm on Saturday afternoon (1pm kick-off).
Words: Sam Allen