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Busy schedule for City's youngsters

By Ian Appleyard | 24th April 2018

City's youngsters are currently involved in a busy programme of fixtures as the season reaches a climax.

The majority of the Under-18s are playing four times in eight days including today's 2-1 defeat at Morecambe in the Central League.

"Games are coming thick and fast so we have to maintain our fitness levels and recovery," said Academy manager Mark Spencer. "At the minute, the momentum is in our favour so, as a coach, you welcome the schedule.

"If you are not picking up points, you want to be back on the training ground organising the players," he added." But no-one is complaining - we just have to ensure we manage any fatigue because we have a small squad."

Fullback Nathan Dyer opened the scoring for City in the 25th minute of today's reserve team game against Morecambe.

However, Lamin Jagne levelled for the hosts on 54 minutes before substitute Kaleb Young grabbed the winner in the final minute.

The Under-18s entertain Hartlepool United on Thursday afternoon at Wigginton Road (kick-off 1pm) before travelling to Rotherham United on Saturday morning.

They started the run of four games in eight days with a 1-1 draw at Bradford City last weekend.

Striker Aston Harrison, pictured, scored City's equaliser and was rewarded with 30 minutes of action as a substitute today against Morecambe.

Reflecting on the Bradford game, Spencer said: "It was a competitive game between two sides at the same end of the table. We were disappointed to concede inside the first five minutes but the team got it together after that and grew into the game.

"We deserved our equaliser midway through the second half. The goal came from a set-piece that we have worked on up at the training ground. Josh Rogerson got above his marker to head against the crossbar and Aston was a 'fox in the box' scoring with a low header into an empty net.

"Bradford will have been disappointed with the result considering where they stand as a League One club," said Spencer. "But we have now taken four points from the last three games and, in two of those, we have come from a goal behind to get points on board.

"We started with two Under-16 players and a had bench full of 16-year-old players.The two lads that started the game did brilliantly - Sanny Linthep and Ollie Haigh in midfield - while both Dom and Will Jackson came on as substitutes. They all showed great character and stepped up to the test.

"Flynn McNaughton was with the first team squad at the weekend and could have caused some damage in attack but my job is to try and get boys in and around the first team so I am happy with that. Aston is a tricky, skilful player and we are teaching him to play up-front and run the channels."

Defender Zac Lawrence (ankle), striker Isaac Overton (groin), and winger Noah Jackson (ankle) are all currently sidelined.

City U18s V Bradford City: Whitley; Kemp (R.Harrison 57), Watson, Rogerson, Dyer; Haigh (D.Jackson 78), Thompson, Linthep, Berry, Haswell (W.Jackson 82); Harrison. Unused substitutes: Wilton, Cawthorn.

City's reserves V Morecambe: Whitley, Kemp, Watson, Rogerson, Kamdjo (Harrison 61), Dyer, Thompson, Berry, Haswell, Correia, McNaughton. Unused substitute: Wilton.

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