U18 Match Preview | Cardiff City vs. Millwall
The young Bluebirds return to PDL South action on Saturday afternoon, welcoming Millwall to Cardiff International Sports Campus, 1pm KO.
This will be the first time since before Christmas that Tom Hutton’s side have been in action. Last time out, City were narrowly defeated by Fulham in the FA Youth Cup. Trey George had given City the lead in the first half, but second half goals from the Cottagers’ Joshua King and Callum Osmond meant the young Bluebirds bowed out of the cup in the third round.
Attention now turns back to league action. Due to postponements, City have not played a league game since November 11th, which was a 6-1 victory over Colchester United. Despite having not played for almost two months, City remain in third place in the table. Bristol City and Watford are above Hutton’s men, but the Bluebirds have three games in hand on those teams.
This weekend sees Millwall make the trip to South Wales. The Lions have only played eight games in the league this season, winning four and losing four, currently finding themselves in sixth place. Larry McAvoy and Chris Perry’s men last played at the beginning of December, but they suffered a heavy 6-0 defeat to bottom of the table Queens Park Rangers.
Ahead of the fixture, U18s manager Tom Hutton said: "We're really looking forward to it. Following the FA Youth Cup game, we went into that having not played in three weeks, so that was a welcomed challenge for us. The fact is that we haven't played a lot of games in recent months, so Saturday's game is one we're really looking forward to and I know the boys are itching to get back on the pitch.
"We're relishing the few weeks ahead. Postponements are going to force us to have some midweek games and it creates some realistic challenges for the players, similar to the First Team schedule at this time of year. They're regularly playing on Saturdays and Tuesdays, so doing that will expose the boys to a high volume of games. Some will be stepping up to the U21s as well, who have a similar schedule, so collectively, we're all looking forward to the challenge.
"We've played Millwall a number of times over the years and we always expect a difficult game. They've got a distinct style of play and they're always a hard-working group of players, so we always know that they pose a real challenge to us whenever we play them, but we're trying to work on playing the best we can and with the players we have, we're more than capable of putting in high-quality performances, as we have been doing."
Defender Joseff Edwards, who has had a stellar season so far, added: "It's going to be a tough game, like we always get from them. It'll be a big test for us and it'll be our first game of the year, so we need to be ready for a tough challenge and a physical battle.
"These are the games that I love playing in, they're my types of games, because I like the challenge and that battle. I'll be looking forward to it, definitely. It's been a good season for me so far, I've played a lot more than I was probably expecting to and I feel like I've developed a lot.
"We can take a lot of confidence going into 2024 and for the rest of the season. The boys have prepared well for Saturday's game. It's been tough with it being the first week back, but the boys have worked really hard."