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Match Previews

Under-18s preview: Notts County (A)

16 April 2021

The Iron's Under-18s kick-off their Merit League campaign this Saturday as they travel to face their Notts County counterparts (11am kick-off).

Please note, in line with the current EFL COVID-19 guidelines, no spectators are permitted at these games. 

SCENE-SETTER

United were back on home soil last time out following a few games at Doncaster Rovers' 4G facility next to the Keepmoat Stadium and have had a four-week break from competitive action following the conclusion of the regular season.

The side commence a four-game extension to the season, but despite finishing as runners-up in the regular campaign, the team aren't guaranteed to end the league in second position, with the results from the Merit League being added to the existing standings. As a result, there are 12 further points to play for, with the top five playing each other once more and the bottom five playing each other once more.

The league split can be likened to the one in the Scottish Premier League, with the league effectively in two halves for the final few weeks of the season.

The Iron come into the Merit League off the back of back-to-back wins over Huddersfield Town. They won 3-1 away from home with Joey Dawson (two) and Dan Gallimore netting, while Dawson added another brace in the return fixture, with Cam Wilson also netting in the 3-2 win.

Our opponents are in pole position to win the league having ended the regular season at the summit of the North East league.

They finished the division five points ahead of Scunthorpe having taken 41 points from their 18 games, out of a possible 54.

The two sides have already met twice times this season. The first meeting ended in a 2-0 home defeat for the Iron back in November in a game which was played just after a number of players returned to the squad following a COVID outbreak.

Meanwhile, the reverse fixture was a dramatic affair which saw United come from 3-0 down in the final 20 minutes to win the game 4-3. Joey Dawson, Harry Lewis, Patrick Virgo and Cameron Wilson all struck to gain all three points on the day.

Notts County come into the fixture off-the-back of a 1-0 away defeat at Grimsby Town last weekend, while they beat Rotherham United on home soil 3-2 a week prior.

TEAM NEWS

United have been virtually back to full strength in recent weeks with a number of their first and second year scholars returning to the starting line-up.

Harry Baker remains out with a knee injury, while Patrick Virgo, who came off against Burton Albion towards the end of the season, continues to miss out with a hamstring problem.

Alex Wilkinson has returned to play some minutes in some in-house fixtures in the last couple of weeks after being out for much of the last year, while a number of Under-15s, Under-16s and trialists have been featuring for the side towards the end of the regular season.

Joey Dawson is currently on 16 goals in the regular season and will be eager to break through the 20-goal mark in the additional four games, although first team manager Neil Cox had indicated in a recent press conference that he had picked up a slight injury in the last couple of weeks.

LAST TIME OUT (W3-2 v Huddersfield Town - Youth Alliance League)

IRON: Crosher, Moore (Strouther, 73), Lobley, Kemp, Lewis, Gallimore, Franklin (Cribb, 71), Wilson, Poulter (Sellars-Fleming, 45), Dawson, Trialist A (Abraham, 45).

IRON SUBS UNUSED: Balme.

ELSEWHERE IN THE MERIT LEAGUE

Saturday
Bradford City v Lincoln City (11am)
Burton Albion v Grimsby Town (11am)
Huddersfield Town v Doncaster Rovers (11am)

LEAGUE TABLE

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