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PREVIEW | Rovers U18s vs Rotherham U18s

9 February 2024


PREVIEW | Rovers U18s vs Rotherham U18s

9 February 2024

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Rovers U18s are all set for a South Yorkshire derby on Saturday February 11, as they welcome Rotherham United in the EFL Youth Alliance League (kick-off 11am).

Frank Sinclair’s side will be out for revenge this weekend having fallen to a stoppage time defeat against the Millers in the reverse fixture despite goals from Will Green and Harry Wood.

The youth team will also be looking for a return to form after their winning run was brought to an end in their narrow loss to Huddersfield Town last weekend.

Last meeting

Rovers fell to a 3-2 loss in the first meeting between the two sides this term in league action but it was a game decided by fine margins at the Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park.

The hosts led after just four minutes in the derby before Will Green struck level from the penalty spot after 20 minutes.

The Millers would then retake the lead shortly after but Harry Wood would meet a Chris Pooley cross in from the right to level again on the hour mark.

The game looked to be heading for a score draw but a long-throw caused confusion in the Rovers box and the hosts headed home for all three points.

Recent form

It’s been a much improved season for the Millers this term who finished the last campaign with the worst regular-season record in Youth Alliance League history as they currently sit fifth with 18 points from 10 games.

United have returned to form in their last two outings but have only won those two games against Harrogate Town and Burton Albion out of their last five in all competitions.

The other league fixture in that run saw Rotherham fall to a 3-1 loss against Hartlepool United and that result was sandwiched between two 6-0 losses against Reading and Preston North End in FA Youth Cup and League Cup action respectively.

Rovers have an identical record to the Millers in their last five matches having won two and lost three since the start of 2024. Losses against Mansfield Town and Notts County were backed up by wins against Lincoln City and the Magpies before losing last time out against Huddersfield Town.

The competition

Burton Albion remain at the summit of the north east division but their advantage at the top has shrunk to just three points following back-to-back losses.

Mansfield Town moved up into second place last time out with an impressive 3-1 victory over Bradford City and the Stags face off with Lincoln City this weekend who make up the final championship merit league placing.

Rotherham United sit fifth just four points ahead of Rovers who are still just two points off Lincoln City and the top-six.

Notts County remain sat bottom of the division after the gap to Huddersfield Town was extended to seven points last time out.

Manager’s comments

Following last weekend’s defeat at Huddersfield Town, professional development phase lead Frank Sinclair is looking for his side to provide a response as the youth team renew old acquaintances with the Millers.

Sinclair said: “We’ve worked all week on the things that didn’t quite work out last weekend because I’ve told the lads that I wasn’t particularly pleased with the performance and we could’ve dominated the opposition more than we did.

“Ultimately goals win you games and we should’ve been 3-0 up in that one but we squandered our chances and went behind.

“The response in the second half was quite positive and we were really pushing so we want to carry that into this weekend.

“We want a response against Rotherham and we’re usually quite good at getting one so we’ll roll up our sleeves and try to get back on track with three points.

“It won’t be easy, they’re always a tough challenge and it’ll be competitive because it is a derby at the end of the day so we’ll make sure to be right at it.

“I’ll be up against my old Huddersfield teammate Joe Skarz on the touchline so I’ll always want to get one up on him and I’m sure he’ll say the same.

“It’s a fresh game for us though and we’ve got a strong side available so hopefully we’ll give it a good go.”

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