U18 Match Preview | Cardiff City vs. Birmingham City
Cardiff City’s U18 side kick off their Professional Development Campaign on Saturday, as they welcome Birmingham City to the Cardiff International Sports Stadium – 12pm kick-off.
Entry to this fixture will be free of charge for all supporters who wish to attend! Come and support the young Bluebirds early in the afternoon before heading over to watch the First Team host QPR at CCS!
It’s been an busy summer for the young Bluebirds, beginning with eight players making the trip to Hungary over the summer to represent Wales in the UEFA U17 European Championships.
Alyas Debono, Cody Twose, Josh Beecher, Luey Giles, Luke Armstrong, Troy Perrett and Dylan Lawlor all played minutes in the competition, and while Cymru bowed out in the group stages, it would have been an experience those players will never forget.
In recent weeks, the U18 side also welcomed 12 new Scholars to continue their development with the Academy. Jac Thomas, Alyas Debono, Joseff Edwards, Dakarai Mafico, Cody Williams, Jake Davies, Osian Rees, Lennon Talbot, Ronan Kpakio, James Lester, Daniel Ola and Troy Perrett have all now agreed to continue within the Academy programme, with Wales youth international Perrett also putting pen-to-paper on a professional contract.
Last season saw City finish in third place in the PDL South, behind Charlton Athletic and Millwall, following a terrific opening period that saw the young Bluebirds fly to the top of the table for a number of weeks.
The Blues finished their 2022/23 PDL North campaign in ninth place, one place above bottom of the table Wigan Athletic. Both of these sides met in August last season, with the Bluebirds running out 1-0 winners up in the West Midlands.
Ahead of the fixture, U18 coach Tom Hutton - who will be taking the team out this weekend - discussed the side's performance throughout pre-season, with a strong home challenge expected to start the campaign:
"I think there's always that sense of excitement around this time of year, because you've got a new group of players coming together. Although they've grown up together within the Academy, there's always that excitement of seeing how they're going to do as a team, and integrate into the full-time programme.
"I've been impressed by the boys; there's always that strong work ethic, which is one of the Academy's core values, so it's important that the players are a representation of that.
"We've got a new model which aligns with how the First Team operates, and off the back of some good pre-season results the boys are confident going into this first league game on Saturday. We've had some really good games against Birmingham City, and we know that they'll be a challenge, but we're ready for it.
"We're lucky that our fanbase do have a keen interest in the Academy, and I think that they have a sense of pride whenever Academy lads come through to the First Team.
"I said to the lads that it's been a really good week to be a part of the Academy, with some of the lads making their debuts this week against Colchester United. A lot of our second year Scholars spent time playing with Joel Colwill and Cian Ashford, so they have to take motivation from that, and hopefully that can inspire them to see themselves achieve similar things in the future."