U18 Match Preview: Cardiff City vs. Charlton Athletic
Cardiff City host Charlton Athletic this Saturday, looking to further their lead at the top of the PDL2 South table at Cardiff International Sports Campus – 12:00pm kick-off.
Entry to the Cardiff International Sports Campus is free ahead of the first-team’s fixture against Southampton at 3:00pm.
Know Your Opponent
The Addicks are currently in sixth place, having won six games so far this campaign, accumulating a respectable twenty points. Sergei Baltacha’s side are only currently five points behind Craig Bellamy’s young Bluebirds who sit top of the league, however City still have two games in-hand over the visitors.
Charlton finished 2nd in PDL2 South last season but were crowned as champions of the Professional Development League in May, beating Crystal Palace 2-1 in the National Play-Off Final at The Valley. Albie Morgan and Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu scored for Charlton Athletic to seal their third national title in four seasons.
The hosts progressed from the Third Round of the 2017/18 FA Youth Cup after a 3-1 win against Queens Park Rangers, with late goals from Alfie Doughty and Albie Morgan sealing a place in the Fourth Round. This would be as far as they would progress, after being knocked out of the FA Youth Cup in the Fourth Round of the competition, falling to a 4-3 loss against Reading in extra-time.
Saturday’s visitors were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup in the third-round against Preston North End, when a penalty shootout was required at Deepdale following a 2-2 draw after-extra-time. It would be the hosts who prevailed, winning 3-1 on penalties on Tuesday, December 4th.
Charlton Athletic’s Academy Manager is Steve Avory, who has overseen a period of success – with no fewer than forty-two players going onto play for the first-team since he joined the club in 2001. His route into Football was rather unconventional, having previously worked as a school teacher, who notably taught current England manager Gareth Southgate.
The Addicks’ U18 side are currently led by Sergei Baltacha, a former professional defender who made nearly 300 appearances for Russian side Dynamo Kiev, as well as a short two-year stint at Ipswich Town as a player. Baltacha has been Lead Professional Phase Coach at the club for just over six years, having previously been a coach at the Academy.
He is assisted by Hamza Serrar, who has been at the club for four seasons, having previously been Algeria’s U20 Assistant Manager.