Spurs under 18’s versus Middlesbrough: (match preview)
Our under 18’s will face Middlesbrough tomorrow up in Darlington as Matt Wells side prepare to play their last game of 2018. On a high from Monday’s dramatic FA youth cup third round win against Millwall at the Den, Matt Wells unbeaten side will be hoping that they can maintain their impressive record when they face Middlesbrough in the under 18 premier league cup tomorrow, by booking their place in the knockout stages of the competition. Saturday mornings match is the Group A decider, with both teams having already picked up six points from their first two matches, a draw would be enough to send both sides through to the next round. However, both managers will want their team to win this game and top the group. The possible scenarios for Spurs are getting the win tomorrow and topping the group, drawing the game and going through to the knockout stages, or even losing by a small margin would also see them go through as one of the two best placed runners up. However, if Spurs were to lose by a big scoreline to the Teeside club then it could open the door for other runners up Blackburn and Chelsea. Our under 18’s reached the final of this competition last season and on their current form they must be one of the favourites to win the cup. After winning our first two group games against both Wolves and Swansea respectively, Matt Wells side will want to put the icing on the cake by progressing from the group as group winners. Middlesbrough play in the Northern Division of the under 18 premier league and as a result of this both sides rarely meet one another. The last time we met ‘ The Boro ’ was back in the spring of 2017, that day Spurs ran out 3-1 winners at Rockliffe Park. Our captain Armando Shashoua appeared to be studded quite badly by one of the Millwall players on Monday and he could well miss out on Saturday’s cup match at Rockliffe Park. Middlesbrough who are managed by Mark Tinkler have enjoyed a mixed start to to the 2018/19 season.
After ten league matches Middlesbrough occupy sixth spot in the northern league and they have been leaking a lot of goals at the back. Tinkler’s side have conceded a staggering 18 goals from their last three matches in all competitions. ‘ The Boro ’ have produced some exciting young talents over the last couple of seasons and although I don’t know an awful lot about their current crop of players I know that they have some highly rated players in their side. Winger Alberto Balde who I have highlighted below is one player to keep an eye on however, centre forward and top scorer this campaign Gabriel McGill as well as midfielder Hayden Hackney is another of Tinkler’s talented lads. I would imagine that Matt Wells will put out a strong Tottenham team for tomorrow’s match. I will be traveling up to Darlington first thing on Saturday morning to report on what promises to be a really interesting match. My in-depth match report of the game will be out on Sunday.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Kurylowicz, Tainio, Statham, Binks (c), Cirkin, White, Cooper, Markanday, Thorpe, Bennett, Richards.
Subs from: Oluwayemi, Okedina, A.Shashoua, Pochettino, Clarke.
Injured/unavailable: Phoenix Patterson, Malachi Walcott, Enock Asante, Jeremie Mukendi.
Doubtful: Armando Shashoua.
Previous meeting: Spurs 3-1 (April 2017).
My score prediction: Spurs 4-1.
My one to watch: Middlesbrough’s Spanish winger Alberto Balde formerly of Northern Irish club Portadown is a player who was linked with a whole host of English clubs while he was a schoolboy in Northern Ireland. The highly rated Balde is a tricky winger, and he has found the back of the net on three occasions for Middlesbrough’s under 18 side so far this season.