Spurs under 23’s versus Blackburn Rovers: (match preview)
After suffering a humiliating 6-0 defeat to Everton in their last PL2 game, Wayne Burnett will be hoping his side can bounce back from last Sunday’s drumming, when they face Blackburn Rovers tomorrow evening, at the Leyland county ground. Our under 23’s have endured a difficult start to the new season and last Sunday’s visit to Goodison Park really brought home just how difficult division one can be at times. Burnett’s side sit one place above the relegation zone ahead of tomorrow’s encounter with bottom of the table Blackburn Rovers. The blue and whites came up to division one as champions last season and Damien Johnson’s side are still in search of their first win of the campaign. Blackburn enjoyed an excellent 2017/18 season and they managed to win the second division with real ease. With youngsters such as Joe Nuttall and Joe Rankin-Costello playing majors parts in their title winning season. Whilst both clubs are category one academy sides, one would expect a club like Tottenham Hotspur to have far too much quality for Blackburn. However, that’s not how youth football works and Wayne Burnett will not be underestimating the threat of tomorrow’s opposition. Blackburn have long been famed for their academy set up and as former Blackburn Rovers boss Jim Iley was telling me a couple of weeks back, a significant part of Blackburn’s first team is made up of academy graduates and local lads. I think tomorrow evenings game is a must win for Spurs if they want to distance themselves from the relegation zone. And if players like Oliver Skipp, Shayon Harrison and Jack Roles have travelled up to Lancashire then we should fancy our chances. Our match against Everton was by no means our best performance of this season and Burnett’s side only managed to muster one shot on target in that game. Goals have been hard to come by so far this season as we no longer have the likes of Keanan Bennett’s and Marcus Edwards creating and scoring goals. Experienced centre forward Shayon Harrison has been our biggest goal threat over recent games.
Having said all that we are also still without attacking players such as Anthony Georgiou, Shilow Tracey and our top scorer at this level last season in Kazaiah Sterling. And if Blackburn head coach Damien Johnson has the likes of Stefan Mols, Joe Rankin-Costello and last seasons seasons top scorer Joe Nuttall to choose from, then it could be a very difficult evening for Burnett’s side which will no doubt include a selection of players from the under 18’s. It will be interesting to see whether or not we stick with playing three at the back for the fourth consecutive game tomorrow night. If so I’d expect young Luis Binks to make his fourth successive start at this level. I’m anticipating a very competitive game against Blackburn and one that will hopefully provide us with a nice three points. Friday evenings PL2 game takes place in Leyland, Lancashire. A town made famous for its long history of manufacturing trucks and buses. I shall be reporting from the county ground on tomorrow nights game. However, due to me traveling by public transport there’s a big risk that I won’t make it back to Hotspur way, for our under 18’s premier league cup tie against Wolves the next morning.
My predicted lineup: (3-4-2-1) Glover, Marsh (c), Tanganga, Binks, Eyoma, Oakley-Boothe, Skipp, Brown, Roles, Maghoma, Harrison.
Subs from: De Bie, Dinzeyi, Duncan, Bennett and Parrott.
Doubtful: Kazaiah Sterling, Brandon Austin (first team involvement) and Alfie Whiteman (first team involvement).
Injured/unavailable: Tariq Hinds, Anthony Georgiou and Jamie Reynolds.
Previous meeting: N/A.
My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.
My one to watch: Rovers prolific 21 year centre forward Joe Nuttall. A player who has already featured on many occasions for Blackburn’s first team, Nuttall was Blackburn’s top scorer in the PL2 last season with 14 goals from 15 games.