Terry Burton’s men will travel to Blackburn today hoping to build on their 2-1 victory over Everton the preceding week.
However, this may prove difficult with several key players unavailable. With the League Cup tie against Reading tomorrow, stars such as Serge Gnabry, Nico Yennaris, Kris Olsson, Hector Bellerin and Thomas Eisfeld are likely to claim a place in the first team squad, thus ruling them out of contention for today’s Blackburn game.
Jernade Meade, who recently turned 20, has been one of the best players so far this season for the U21s, and is also tipped to feature in Arsene Wenger’s plans, as is promising forward Chuba Akpom.
Nigel Neita will replace Akpom up front for the reserves after being played on the wing against Everton, while Josh Rees could return to the starting line up at right midfield.
Alex Iwobi, the nephew of Jay Jay Okocha, has been one of the bright sparks of the U18s this season, and will start on the bench. When on the field he’s likely to play on the left wing or in a number 10 position behind the striker.
Jon Toral will be hopeful of a start in central midfield, alongside possibly Jack Jebb, who has yet to feature at this level.
Kyle Ebecilio is unlikely to play, after coming off injured against Marseille in the NextGen Series last Thursday. He was replaced by winger Anthony Jeffrey, who will start on the bench.
At centre back Elton Monteiro is likely to partner Sead Hajrovic, as Ignasi Miquel will be another player involved in the League Cup. The 16 year old Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill could come in at left back, although he has been struggling with a leg injury, while Martin Angha is poised to start on the right.
It will be a big test for Burton’s young side, but they can be hopeful of a win against a struggling Blackburn team who were defeated 3-0 in the corresponding fixture at the start of the season.
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