U21 Preview: Youngsters end season at West Brom

SAFC Under-21s wrap up their 2022-23 season on Monday night, looking to finish the campaign on a bright note against West Bromwich Albion at Hednesford’s Keys Park (KO 6pm).


The young Lads were victorious last time out with an excellent 3-1 win over a promotion-chasing Nottingham Forest side, rounding off the home campaign at Eppleton successfully.


The reverse fixture of Monday’s finale came way back in August and was a memorable game to supporters present, who witnessed the Lads – with 10 men at the time before finishing with nine – coming back from a 3-0 half-time deficit to draw level at 3-3 – all three goals coming in the opening six minutes of the second half. Max Thompson netted twice in the same minute, before winning a penalty which Caden Kelly duly converted.


Premier League 2 rules state final games do not have to be played on the same day, which means whilst Graeme Murty and John Hewitson’s side complete their fixtures this week, the remainder of the PL2 Division 2 have either two or three games left to play. The Lads will finish either eighth or ninth, and must better the points tally of rivals Newcastle United who are currently three points behind with a game in hand.


A small number of first-team players seeking match fitness could travel, though this will be decided anytime up to a day before kick-off. U18 players who have impressed all season such as Tommy Watson, Ben Middlemas and Marshall Burke should all play some part, though Chris Rigg and Ethan Moore are out through injury. Harry Gardiner and Tom Scott are among a large group who remain eligible to play through the terms of their youth loans, the duo both in the squad for the Forest win.


Social media coverage of the match will be active via our dedicated Academy Twitter page, @AcademyOfLight.

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