U18 Match Preview | Queens Park Rangers vs Cardiff City
Cardiff City’s U18 side look to continue their unbeaten form as they travel to Queens Park Rangers this Saturday (07/01) - 12pm kick-off.
After their Christmas break, the young Bluebirds return to Professional Development League with a packed schedule due to previous postponements and a run in the FA Youth Cup.
Last time out, Steve Jenkins’ youngsters knocked Crewe Alexandra out of the FA Youth Cup in a 4-3 thriller in Cheshire. Returning from injury, Japhet Mpadi starred with a brace while Cole Fleming and Lewys Ware also helped get City over the line.
Unbeaten since 5th November, the Bluebirds are top of their PDL group with eight wins from their 10 games. Sitting a point clear of Charlton with a game in hand, City look to extend their lead at the top with a win over the Hoops on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of the first fixture of 2023, Head Coach Jenkins said: “Over Christmas the players still had plans, physical output was important so they stay fit while getting much needed rest.
“Between Christmas and New Year, we had three days in the Vale which is good exposure and exercise to be around the U21 squad and the First Team. We also took next year’s scholars so they get that exposure too.
“We, as a staff unit, think it’s good to get a packed schedule. The U18 side don’t usually experience the Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday schedule so the players should be excited because everyone loves playing games.”
Just three days after the QPR fixture, the young Bluebirds travel to Oxford United for their fourth round FA Youth Cup tie, before another league game next Saturday.
Steve continued: “We focus on one game at a time. Every game is difficult and we’re aware of a quick turnaround on Tuesday.”
Speaking on his Saturday opponents, he said: “We’ve had our preparations as normal. They’re on a good run of form, I think they’ve won seven of their last eight and they beat us 2-1 last time so we have to be well prepared.”
Prior to their Christmas break, City’s London-based opposition overcame Tottenham Hotspur in the third round of the FA Youth Cup, 3-1 after extra time, to set up a tie with Luton Town in the next round.
Teddy Lawrence scored a brace against the Category One academy while Kieran Petrie’s extra time strike helped to secure the win.
In the PDL south group, QPR sit fourth, trailing City by six points at the top. With six wins and five losses from their 11 games, their last defeat came on November 12th at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday; the Yorkshire side winning the home contest, 2-1.