Southampton’s Under-18s team travel to Everton on Saturday in the final group game of the Under-18s Premier League Cup.
Everton vs Saints
U18s Premier League Cup
Saturday 5th November, 11:00am GMT
Mikey Harris’ side head into their final group game of the Under-18s Premier League Cup after a dominant 6-1 win over Leicester City.
A strong Saints side travelled to the East Midlands last Saturday and stormed to their first league win of the season, with goals from Will Merry, Jem Hewlett, Kamari Doyle, and Sam Amo-Ameyaw.
Merry opened the scoring to establish a 1-0 lead at the break and, after Hewlett doubled the lead shortly after half time, a brace apiece from Doyle and Amo-Ameyaw ensured back-to-back wins in all competitions for the young Saints.
Everton head into Saturday’s clash without a win in their last three games, as they fell to a 2-0 defeat against Middlesbrough in their most recent outing.
Despite scoring in all but two games so far, their inconsistent results have seen them struggle to hit an extended run of form yet this campaign.
The young Toffees, who are managed by former player Leighton Baines, find themselves 9th in the Under-18 Premier League North.
With Saturday’s fixture being the final game of Group B, both sides know what they require to progress to the knockout stages.
Saints are in a commanding position at the top of the group with two wins from the first two matches, and simply need to avoid defeat against Everton to ensure the advance as group winners.
Meanwhile, Everton are second in the group thanks to their 90th minute winner against Derby County in their first match.
The Merseysiders will need to win by three goals or more against their Hampshire rivals to leapfrog them and advance.
Only the top team from each of the seven groups progresses, along with the best second-placed team.
“The boys have got themselves into a fantastic position with two wins from two,” said Under-18s boss Harris, “against Derby we had a young team out and managed to get a hard-earned 1-0 win.”
“We don’t play Everton very often at Under-18s level, so it’ll be a good experience for the boys to travel North and face a top academy.
“They’re a really good team, from what we’ve seen they press and counter-press well and have good players on the ball. We know it’ll be a difficult game but that’s the sort you want for the lads.”
“The strength in any academy programme is variety and, when you travel for games, it has different challenges the lads need to experience. From managing their sleep and nutrition to being away from home, the boys will have to deal with those things if they want to progress as professionals.
“We challenged the boys from the start to get out of the group. We did it in the Under-17s cup last year and unfortunately got knocked out in the next round, so a lot of the lads will want to put that right.”