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PREVIEW | Rovers U18s vs Bradford U18s

17 November 2023


PREVIEW | Rovers U18s vs Bradford U18s

17 November 2023

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Rovers U18s return to EFL Youth Alliance League action this Saturday as they welcome Bradford City to the Hoober Homes Elite Performance Centre.

Frank Sinclair’s side will be looking to make it three wins from three in all competitions having beaten Lincoln City and Morecambe on the road in the previous two weekends.

The identical fixture last term saw Rovers win 2-1 in stoppage time thanks to Freddie Allen’s headed winner and the two reverse fixtures ended in a Bradford win and a draw at the Horsfall Community Stadium.

Last season

The Bantams finished runners-up in the EFL Youth Alliance League last season as they collected 49 points from their 24 games with 63 goals to finish just one point behind champions Harrogate Town.

Bradford finished top of group two in last year’s league cup campaign but ultimately exited the competition to regional champions Rotherham United in the northern quarter-finals.

In the FA Youth Cup, City made it to the third round and set up a trip to nine-time winners Chelsea but that’s as far as their journey took them as they lost 3-1 at Cobham.

In the Professional Development League Cup, the West Yorkshire side finished bottom of their group which included eventual champions Peterborough United.

Recent form

The youth team head into the fixture riding a high having recorded head-to-head victories for the first time this season over the last two weekends. The first of those wins saw a 2-0 win at Lincoln City before most recently a last-gasp success at Morecambe in the league cup.

The Bantams travel to South Yorkshire having collected a mixed bag of results in recent weeks – losing two, drawing two and winning just once in their last five fixtures. That win came against Tranmere Rovers in the FA Youth Cup but last time out they were thumped 5-0 by Port Vale in the league cup.

The competition

Sinclair’s side climbed up to ninth place in the Youth Alliance League with their 2-0 victory against Lincoln and Bradford sit just three points ahead in seventh with both sides playing the least amount of games this term with six.

Burton Albion continue to lead the way and have daylight between themselves and Grimsby Town in second with their 21 points in comparison to the Mariners’ 16.

Notts County stay routed to the foot of the table with their one point from six games in the league with Huddersfield Town just above the Magpies.

Manager’s comments

Professional development phase lead Frank Sinclair is looking forward to renewing acquaintances with one of his side’s historic Youth Alliance rivals.

He said: “It’s always a great challenge when we play against Bradford and we know how good they are every year.

“They’ll come here with quality players once again and they’ll be going for the win.

“We’ve had some great battles with them over the last couple of seasons and they’re always thoroughly enjoyable games to be a part of.

“Having said that, we want to continue our winning streak now because it’s always a good habit to be in and it’ll massively boost our lads’ confidence.

“Hopefully when Saturday comes around we’ll be in a good position and we’ll give it our best shot.”

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