Cardiff City U18 training

U18 Match Preview | Cardiff City vs. Colchester United

Cardiff City’s U18 side continue their Premier Development League campaign on Saturday, as they welcome Colchester United to the Cardiff International Sports Campus – KO at 12pm.

Last weekend, the Bluebirds were scheduled to face off against Millwall, but the game was postponed due to the Lions’ involvement in the FA Youth Cup. As a result, City haven’t played a game since their last outing, an away defeat to Watford.

While others in the PDL South played last weekend, Tom Hutton’s side slipped down one place to fourth and have been displaced by Charlton Athletic, but the Addicks are only ahead on goal difference.

This weekend sees Colchester United make the trip to South Wales. The U’s come into this game bottom of the table, having only picked up two wins from their 15 games. When these two last met in November, City came away with a 6-1 victory.

Tom Hutton in training for Cardiff City U18

Ahead of Saturday's fixture, we caught up with head coach Hutton.

“I think whilst the result was disappointing against Watford, on review, there were a lot of positives from the performance," Tom began. "It was probably one of our most challenging games of the season. They’re a good team, they have some good players, but the dynamic of our group is changing, even more so now with the U21s players going out on loan, which is a big positive. That’s allowed a lot of our lads to step up into U21s football, which is what we see as success.

"There’s context to the Watford result in terms of how many of our lads are playing regularly for the U21s and for us, that’s our mark of success. Of course, we want to win as many games as we can and Saturday brings a different challenge. It’s going to be another tough game. We had a positive result against them last time, but both teams have improved since then. We’ll be looking to play as well as we can and hopefully, put in a positive performance.

"Being where we are, there’s always a lot of travelling to do. That’s part of the experience for the boys, adding travel into their preparation. But, it’s nice to be back at home, particularly with the First Team being at home on Saturday as well.

"We’re quite fortunate in having a fanbase who are very supportive of the Academy, they like to see our players progress into the First Team and they feel that it’s important. As much as we can, if we can develop that interest and build the fanbase for the Academy alongside the First Team, that can only be beneficial."

Alyas Debono in Cardiff City U18 training

Defender Alyas Debono, who has had a positive campaign for City's U18s, added: “It’s going to be a good game. We’ve trained really well all week. We know as a squad that we need to bounce back. It wasn’t a good result for us against Watford, but Saturday is a good chance to show what we’re about.

“We’re back on our home ground. We’re used to the pitch and have a good record there, so hopefully, we can use that to our advantage. We won eight games in-a-row and we’re still up there with the top three, so we just need to keep working hard. For me personally, I’ve had a good season. There’s been ups and downs, but overall, it’s been really positive.”