U18 Match Preview | Watford vs. Cardiff City
Cardiff City’s U18 side continue their PDL campaign on Saturday, January 27th, as they travel to take on Watford at the UCL Sports Ground, 1pm KO.
Last weekend saw the young Bluebirds involved in one of their most dramatic games of the season, as they prevailed 5-2 over Bournemouth. There was a brace for Trey George, along with a goal each for Jake Davies, Joseff Edwards and Louis Phillips, as City made it eight wins in a row.
Their fantastic run of form has seen Tom Hutton’s side maintain pace with the top sides in the division. They currently sit third in the PDL South, six points behind leaders Bristol City, but crucially, the Bluebirds have two games in hand.
Saturday's opponents, Watford currently sit second in the table. Despite being in the top two, when they last played two weeks ago, the Hornets fell to a 3-1 defeat away to Bournemouth. The last time the two sides met was back in January 2023, with City claiming a 4-1 win.
Ahead of Saturday's fixture we caught up with head coach Hutton, beginning with reflection on last week's win over Bournemouth.
"Last weekend was a really positive learning experience. It was the fifth time that we've played Bournemouth this season across various competitions. The game was a real challenge, because the boys had to show resilience. We deservedly got ourselves into a good lead, but there was a red card and we had to manage the system we were playing in with ten men.
"Then, I was really pleased with the calmness that the boys showed when Bournemouth got a couple of goals back. We continued to play how we wanted to and got a few goals, which took the sting out of the game. That might have been a game in the past that we would have ended up drawing or losing, so for them to show that resilience and to continue to play how we wanted to was really positive.
"The boys have shown that resilience on a number of occasions this season when they've overcome setbacks. I think back to going 2-0 down in the Swansea game and coming back to win 3-2, that character comes from working hard day-in day-out and I'm really pleased that they're delivering positive performances and getting the results to go along with it as well."
Turning attention to Saturday's game, Tom continued: "We've had a lot of games recently and every game brings a new challenge. It will be a physical game on Saturday, they'll test us from an athletic standpoint. They want to dominate the ball, like us, so I think both teams will work hard without the ball to get control of possession. That will be at the forefront of our minds on Saturday, making sure that we work hard off the ball and win the ball back as much as we can. That will give us the opportunity to show how good we are in possession."
Midfielder Jake Davies, who was on the scoresheet last time out, added: “We’re feeling really good at the moment, coming on the back of a good win against Bournemouth. We’ve had a great week in training this week, the boys are all looking sharp, so we’re looking forward to Saturday’s game.
“I’m happy with the way I’ve been performing in the last couple of weeks. I’ve been getting more time on the pitch, which is great for me and I’ve been contributing with goals and assists, so I’m happy with that.
“The run we’re on has given us a lot of confidence. We just want to add to the eight league wins we’ve had on the bounce and build on it. We’ve been good away from home this season, so we’ll be positive going into this Saturday.”