Alyas Debono in Cardiff City U18 training

U18 Match Preview | Queens Park Rangers vs. Cardiff City

Cardiff City’s U18 side continue their Premier Development League campaign on Saturday, as they travel to the capital to take on QPR at TSG Training Ground – KO at 12pm.

Last weekend saw the Bluebirds play in front of a good crowd in Leckwith against Colchester United, where they managed to grab a late draw. Colchester had gone ahead early in the second half, but Jac Thomas finished off Jake Davies’ cross in the 96th minute to secure a dramatic point for Tom Hutton’s side.

The result moves City up to third in the PDL South. They sit on 26 points; twelve behind leaders Bristol City, but the Bluebirds have three games in hand on the Robins.

This weekend sees City travel to London to take on Queens Park Rangers. QPR head into the contest in ninth place having only won four games out of a possible 16. Their last game was a dramatic contest, as they drew 5-5 with Charlton Athletic, meaning Rangers have scored eleven goals in their last three games.

Tom Hutton in training for Cardiff City U18

Ahead of Saturday's fixture, we caught up with U18 head coach Hutton.

"The performance of the group on a Saturday is always important to us. It's something that we always use to gauge how well they've done. Last week, we fell short of that expectation and whilst we always strive to be at our best, when you're working with young players, they're still learning the game. Having said that, it's still important that we as staff hold the players accountable, like in the First Team, where the level is high and it's very demanding. We know there will be inconsistency, but we aim for the players to keep their level high. 

"QPR have got a distinct way of playing and developing players. They always challenge you in the way they set up. We're looking forward to that. This weekend is challenging as a whole for the Academy, because there are players who are playing outside of their age group, but that's a big positive. It's something that we do strategically as an Academy, we want to expose our players to an older age group and that's going to be happening across all the squads.

"There's been a lot of development and improvement this season, both on and off the pitch. It's a challenge for the boys with the level that they're playing at and we've been exposing them to higher levels, with the U21s and First Team, but also, they're getting to grips with the daily life of a scholar. They've adapted to that really well, they've taken that on board and we've really seen them improve, which is a big positive this season."

Lennon Talbot in training for Cardiff City U18

Lennon Talbot, who has made great progress in his development this season, added: "The boys stuck together really well last week, kept playing right until the end to get a point from it. It was a game that we knew we could have got more from, but we have to put that right this weekend and get all three points. 

"The boys have trained really hard this week. There's a good focus in the group. We're expecting a tough game on Saturday and we're going to have to dig deep, because we've got a young squad, but we have a lot of players with a lot to prove. 

"We need to get more points on the board if we want to stay high in the table and I have full confidence that the boys can do it."