Rovers U18s are back in competitive action this Saturday as they travel to Huddersfield Town for matchday two of their EFL Youth Alliance League Cup group.
Frank Sinclair’s side will be looking to pick up their first three points in group three after falling to a home defeat against current group leaders Blackpool on matchday one.
The two sides last came head-to-head in Huddersfield in October 2022 when Sinclair first took to the helm as the hosts ran out 2-0 winners that day at the Canal Side Training Complex.
The reverse fixture saw Rovers stage a dramatic second-half comeback with goals from Owen Scattergood, Will Green and Jack Goodman taking a 3-2 win over the Terriers in league action.
The West Yorkshire side finished in ninth place in last season’s Youth Alliance League with 25 points from their 24 games – winning on just eight occasions and finishing in the second tier merit league.
In the FA Youth Cup, the Terriers received a bye into the third round of the competition and also exited at that stage as they lost 3-2 to a ten-man Ipswich Town side.
In the EFL Youth Alliance League Cup they finished dead last in group three with just one point from their four games, therefore exiting at that stage. They also exited the Professional Development League Cup in the group stages – finishing third in group B.
After Rovers’ victory against Scunthorpe United was ruled null and void, the youth team will head to West Yorkshire without a competitive win to their name from their opening two fixtures – losing 4-0 to Blackpool and 3-2 to Rotherham United.
This weekend’s hosts head into the game with two draws from their opening two league games - drawing 2-2 against Mansfield Town and 1-1 to Notts County – and this will be Town’s first game of their cup campaign.
Following Rovers opening day defeat to Blackpool, Sinclair’s side currently sit in fifth place in group three with Huddersfield sat in third without playing a game.
The Tangerines sit top of the group after one game with Morecambe sat just behind them on goal difference following their 2-0 win over fellow north-west outfit Carlisle United.
The Cumbrians sit in fourth place with only the group winner guaranteed a place in the area quarter-finals alongside the three best second places from the northern section of the competition.
With only three games left to play for Rovers in this year’s league cup group, professional development phase coach Sinclair has labelled the game as a must-win should his side want to reach the knockout stages.
“We have to go to Huddersfield to win the game,” he said.
“After losing the opening game, we have to win the second to give ourselves a chance of getting through.
“I’ll try and pick an aggressive team that I think will score goals and we’ll have a real go at them.
“We’ll do our homework and respect the level of opposition because they’re a good side but we’ve got to go out there with no fear.
“When we’ve got that mentality and attitude towards a game we certainly always give the opposition a hard time, and we usually win our fair share of those.
“I’m confident that I can pick a team that’s going to give us a good chance over there and we’ll be going all out for the win.”