Spurs under 23’s versus Leicester City: (match preview)
Our under 23’s return to PL2 action on Friday after the recent international break, when they face Leicester City at Hotspur Way. Wayne Burnett’s development side will be on a high after they recorded a hugely impressive 4-0 victory over Gillingham in the Checkatrade trophy last week. And Burnett’s side albeit slightly altered to the one that beat Gillingham, will be feeling confident that they can overturn Leicester City at Hotspur Way on Friday, to make it three wins on the trot. Steve Beaglehole’s Leicester City side mounted a serious charge for the division one title last season, and they came close to pulling it off but for a late dip in form which resulted in them finishing the 2017/18 season in third place. However, the foxes have started this season well, and after picking up three wins from their opening seven league games they find themselves sitting pretty healthily in fourth place. That being said, Leicester have fielded a number of first team players during these games, something which they also did last season. The likes of Shinji Okazaki, Andy King and Turkish international Caglar Soyuncu are just some of the experienced players who they have fielded this season. Beaglehole’s side also has some talented youngsters in their ranks, of which includes defensive midfielder Hamza Choudury, forward Layton Ndukwu and fullback Darnell Johnson. Burnett’s side contested two hugely contrasting league games with the foxes last season. The first was a fiercely competitive 1-1 draw at Hotspur Way back in the autumn of 2017. Whilst the reverse fixture up in Leicester was anything but competitive. Despite taking an early lead through Keanan Bennetts, Spurs seemed to fall apart after taking the lead. The dismissal of midfield duo George Marsh and Oliver Skipp in the second half didn’t help matters. And Spurs suffered their biggest defeat of the season, losing 6-1 at Holmes park.
Like their first team Leicester don’t play attractive football by any means however, Beaglehole’s side are effective in how they do play. One thing which has stood out to me over recent seasons is how strong their midfield is. And I think who ever comes off strongest in the middle of the park during Fridays game, will decide who edges the contest. Burnett’s side responded well to being thrashed 6-0 at Goodison Park by Everton last month, and they have since recorded comprehensive wins over both Blackburn Rovers and Gillingham in their last two outings. What makes both of these wins so impressive is the fact that we are missing so many of the experienced members of our our side to injury. And with the likes of Shayon Harrison and Luke Amos all missing for Fridays game, Spurs will have to rely on the younger members of the side, such as midfielder Paris Maghoma who has been in outstanding form for the development side so far this season. With Oliver Skipp recently making up the numbers for the first team after Pochettino’s recent injury crisis, and the likes of Anthony Georgiou and Kazaiah Sterling having missed recent games due to injury. Burnett will once again be relying on the inform Jack Roles and Paris Maghoma to help fire his side to victory on Friday afternoon. I will be at Hotspur Way reporting on this Fridays PL2 game, and my in-depth match report will be out by the following day.
My predicted lineup: (3-4-2-1) Austin, Dinzeyi, Tanganga, Binks, Hinds, Duncan, Marsh (c), Brown, Maghoma, Oakley-Boothe, Roles.
Subs from: Freeman, Lyons-Foster, Eyoma, Richards, Sterling.
Injured/unavailable: Luke Amos, Shayon Harrison, Jamie Reynolds and Jonathan De Bie.
Doubtful: Tashan Oakley-Boothe (injury), Anthony Georgiou (injury), Kazaiah Sterling (injury), Shilow Tracey (injury), Troy Parrott (possible fatigue after completing three full matches for Ireland over the past week), Alfie Whiteman (possible first team involvement) and Oliver Skipp (possible first team involvement).
Previous meeting: Spurs 1-6.
My score prediction: Spurs 2-1.
My one to watch: Ryan Loft is a name in which all followers of the Spurs youth set up will be familiar with. The 21 year old centre forward left Spurs upon the expiration of his contract in June after progressing through the ranks at Spurs, before going onto become a regular member of both their under 18 and development side. Loft is a typical burly target man whose lack of technique and mobility perhaps let him down after he stepped up to the Lilywhites development side. After some not so fruitful loans to Stevenage and Exeter City over recent seasons, Loft signed for Leicester on a two year contract in the summer. And the former Ebbsfleet schoolboy has started the season well for the foxes, and he recently scored a brace against Fleetwood in the Checkatrade trophy.