Derby County’s Under-18s will be looking to halt a four-game winless streak and pick up their first home victory of the season when Manchester United visit Moor Farm on Saturday in the Under-18 Premier League - North (12pm kick-off).

Adam Robinson’s side battled to a 1-1 draw at Burnley last time out in the league, showing subtle signs of improvement after back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers either side of the international break.

The Under-18s took the lead just after the hour mark through Malcolm Ebiowei, who arrived from Scottish side Rangers in September, with the goal set up by substitute Riley Moloney.

However, Burnley hit back to equalise with 15 minutes remaining through Kian Le Fondre to earn a share of the spoils.

Now, attentions turn to another tough home test as Derby look to kick-start a run of form to push themselves up the table.

The young Rams sit 12th in the league table, with Saturday’s opponents Manchester United lying in fifth. After losing their first two games of the league season against rivals Manchester City and Liverpool, United have gone unbeaten in their four league fixtures since.

The latest fixture in that unbeaten run was an action-packed 3-3 draw at home against Middlesbrough. The visitors stormed into a 3-0 lead after just 23 minutes; the hosts then pulled one back in the same minute before a red card for Boro allowed United back into the game.

Travis Binnion’s side are the third-highest goal scorers in the division with 15 goals, with the goals being spread out evenly with the joint-highest scorers on three, so Derby will have to be on top form defensively to limit their opponents.

Sam Mather is one of the main creative outlets for the Red Devils; however, with five assists so far from the left-wing position – stopping deliveries from that side of the pitch will be a point of emphasis for Robinson in preparation for Saturday’s game.

Carlos Richards will hope to extend his home scoring run to three straight games in all competitions after two equally brilliant goals in as many games against Reading and Man City. The winger has been a standout player since arriving from Chelsea in the summer.

It is not certain how Robinson will set up his team for this challenging test, as the Under-18s Head Coach has alternated between a 4-2-3-1, 4-1-4-1 and even a 4-3-3 setup on one occasion this campaign, as he searches for the system that will cultivate some consistency in his team.

Words: Sam Allen