U18 Preview: Cardiff City vs. Crewe Alexandra
Cardiff City’s U18 side host Crewe Alexandra in their second game of the 2019/20 campaign, with the Bluebirds having claimed a 0-0 draw in their opening game against Hull City.
The game will take place at Cardiff International Sports Campus, with entry free for all – 1pm kick-off.
Know Your Opponent
The visitors opened their campaign with a 0-0 draw against Bristol City last weekend at home – following a resolute defensive showing against the Robins.
Crewe Alexandra finished bottom of the U18 PDL North last season, accumulating twenty-six points over the course of the season, winning on just seven occasions. They finished level on points with Bolton Wanderers, but a lesser goal difference resulted in the Railwaymen finishing in tenth place.
Despite the disappointing league campaign, Crewe progressed to the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup last year. Lee Bell’s side was successful against Bristol City, claiming a 2-1 victory at Ashton Gate in the third-round of the competition. A brace from Connor Heath was enough for his side to progress into the fourth-round against Leicester City. Despite going into the game with optimism, the visitors were knocked out of the competition at the King Power Stadium, succumbing to a 4-0 defeat.
The Railwaymen are managed by Lee Bell, an ex-midfielder who came through the ranks at Crewe, before going on to make 53 appearances for the club in his first stint at Gresty Road, scoring three goals between 2002-2007. Bell would go on to play for Burton Albion, Mansfield Town and Macclesfield Town, before retiring in 2015.
Crewe’s U18 manager was appointed in January 2017, just two years following his retirement from professional football. He is assisted by Michael Jackson, who has also previously appeared for the hosts between 1992-93, having started his career at the club.
Jackson made over 500 league appearances, scoring 37 times for sides including Bury, Preston North End, Tranmere Rovers, Blackpool and Shrewsbury Town. He had a short stint as manager for Shrewsbury Town in 2014 but couldn’t prevent the Blues from being relegated to League Two.
Last Time Out
The last time the Bluebirds faced Saturday’s visitors was on Saturday, April 6th, as they fell to a disappointing 3-1 defeat away from home against Crewe Alexandra. Dan Griffiths broke the deadlock with his 25th goal of the 2019/20 campaign, however Mathew Fenton, Connor Heath and Malachi Linton would all net to condemn City to a disappointing defeat.
Despite the result, the match would prove to be a key moment in the season for the Bluebirds, as their place in the U18 Professional Development League play-offs was confirmed following results elsewhere.