U18 Preview: Saints vs Leicester

By SFC Media Fri 19 Oct Saints v Leicester
Photo by James Bridle | Will Ferry

Get the lowdown on the young Saints’ Saturday opponents Leicester City, ahead of their Under-18 Premier League clash at Staplewood Campus…

THE MATCH

Southampton U18 vs Leicester City U18
Saturday 20th October, 12pm BST
Under-18s Premier League
Staplewood Campus

Southampton’s teenage charges will meet Leicester City in the Under-18s Premier League this weekend, lifted by a run of three consecutive league and cup wins.

Back-to-back victories over Brighton, Reading and Swansea have provided significant boost to Saints’ standing within the southern league table, but also serves as a welcome injection of confidence after a tricky start to the campaign.

Paul Hardyman’s side have found their scoring boots in recent weeks, netting six goals in their previous three encounters - but, have only managed one clean sheet in that period, something that Hardyman is particularly keen to correct.

Challengers Leicester also enter the tie off the back of recent success, registering a 3-0 away win over Aston Villa a fortnight ago.

Both sides have had the benefit of a two-week break, owing to the latest international window, which has seen five of Saints’ Under-18s players jet off across Europe to represent their respective countries.

FLASHBACK: Leicester 1-3 Saints (Jan 2018)

There were away wins apiece during this fixture last season - and plenty of goals.

Leicester were 2-1 victors on the opening day of the season, but Saints had the final say in January of this year, running out 3-1 winners. Jonathan Afolabi netted a brace, with Enzo Robise adding a third.

COACH'S THOUGHTS

Coach Paul Hardyman has been pleased with recent improvements in results, but remains focussed on ensuring performance levels are consistently high.

“Winning naturally breeds competition for places, because all the boys are playing well,” Hardyman said.

“It’s been good to have a bit of a break. We’ve had a few Under-17s games, so we’ve been kept busy.

“The main thing is that the time has allowed us to have a good look at everyone. We’ve had five lads away on international duty, which is again encouraging.

“The feedback we’ve had from various international managers has been very positive.

“Leicester are on a run of good results, similar to us. They’re coming to our back yard, and results are important, but more so we’re looking for level of performance, development and consistency.

“As long as they keep learning and improving, results will follow.”

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