Cardiff City’s U18 side face Watford at Cardiff International Sports Campus for their seventh Professional Development League Two fixture – kick-off 11am.
Know your Opponent
The Hornets are currently sat in fifth place after a mixed start to the 2018/19 campaign. They have won just two games this season, alongside two draws which mean Watford have collected eight points from their opening seven PDL2 fixtures.
Watford finished fourth place in the PDL2 South last season and were a point behind City in the league – which meant Craig Bellamy’s side claimed third place in a successful 2017/18 season. The visitors collected fifteen wins and two draws over the course of the season, with a fourth placed finish their best final league position in two years.
Carl Martin’s side made it to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup last season, as they defeated Sunderland 1-0 at Vicarage Road on Sunday, January 7th. Lewis Gordon scored the only goal of the game to help his side progress into the fourth round of the competition. This would be as far as they got, though, as Blackburn Rovers cruised to a 2-0 victory at Ewood Park.
Watford’s U18 side are currently led by Carl Martin and Darren Sarll – with the duo possessing a plethora of experience in the game.
Martin is the lead U18 Professional Phase Coach and is an ex-professional defender who played for Wealdstone, Crewe Alexandra and Macclesfield Town. He came on as a substitute in the 2012 League Two Play-Off Final as Crewe were promoted to League One with a 2-0 victory against Cheltenham Town.
Darren Sarll joined the Hornets this summer as Watford’s Head of Academy – Professional Development Phase. Sarll has previous experience in management, working his way all the way up from Academy Manager to First-Team manager at hometown club Stevenage over the course of six years. He managed 114 first-team games, winning 41 matches.
City have a mixed record against Saturday’s visitors, winning two of their four previous meetings. However, Watford haven’t beaten the young Bluebirds away from home in their last two encounters – losing 4-1 and 3-0 respectively over the last two seasons.
One of those notable victories was in November 2016, when Cardiff City put in a dominant display to continue an excellent start to their 2016/17 season. A double from Mark Harris and a goal from Jarrad Welch sealed all three points for the hosts at USW Sports Park.