Latics return to Youth Alliance action on Saturday as they travel to Shrewsbury Town.
- Academy Preview: Shrewsbury Town vs Wigan Athletic
- Latics beat Carlisle United 3-0 in December in their last EFL Youth Alliance fixture
- Latics aiming to continue unbeaten run after 2-1 win over Scunthorpe United in EFL Youth Alliance Cup
SHREWSBURY TOWN V WIGAN ATHLETIC
EFL YOUTH ALLIANCE
LILLESHALL NATIONAL SPORTS CENTRE
Latics’ Under 18s visit Shrewsbury Town in their first game in the EFL Youth Alliance in 2019 on Saturday.
Gregor Rioch’s side, who are now 23 games unbeaten in all competitions this season, go into their trip to Shropshire off the back of a 2-1 win over Scunthorpe United in the Youth Alliance Cup semi-final.
A brace from forward James Berry ensured Latics would progress to the area final, despite coming from behind after the hosts took the lead inside the opening ten minutes.
Latics’ last fixture in the Youth Alliance was in December as they secured a 3-0 win over Carlisle United with goals from Kyle Joseph, Berry and Divin Baningime securing a comprehensive victory to extend their lead at the top of the table.
Latics’ youngsters hold an impressive away record this season, including 14 goals in their last five away games and conceding just four, including impressive wins over Wolverhampton Wanderers and Hull City in the FA Youth Cup.
Hosts, Shrewsbury Town, come into the game sitting eighth in the North West Division, four points adrift of seventh-placed Tranmere Rovers.
One win in their last five games has shown this to be a difficult period for Salop, though, a surprising 4-1 win over Preston North End last-time out has them full of confidence ahead of their fixture with Latics.
The two clubs last met in September when Joseph’s goals earned Latics a hard-fought win at Christopher Park, despite the visitors grabbing a late goal in the second-half.
The victory was Latics’ seventh straight victory of the season as they aimed to push on after a positive start to the campaign.
U18 Coach Peter Murphy has said it will be another tough test for his players on Saturday:
“We’ve won 12 out of 13 in the league, so it’s important we keep that momentum going and look to perform well,” he said.
“They gave us a good game when they came to Wigan, so I expect a difficult test, but we’ve had a big month in cup competitions where you don’t have a chance to put things right, but you do in the league so that’s important for us.”
Murphy also praised his players following their victory over Scunthorpe United in the Youth Alliance cup semi-final:
“It was different to how we normally play, but with the group of players we’ve got we can afford to play differently if we have to,” he added.
“We reacted well to going a goal down, which shows great character from the group and in the end, we deserved to progress to the final.”
The manager also commented on the impact of Berry, who scored both goals and Mitchell Culshaw since their return from injuries:
“It’s a great thing for me to have players who come in like that and make a difference, Mitchell came in from an injury and made a great impact.
“As well as James who has also come back, worked well and bided his time and it’s important we keep monitoring him well so he can get fitter and score more goals.”
Murphy also confirmed he has a full squad available ahead of the trip to Shrewsbury on Saturday:
“A few were involved in the development squad’s game on Tuesday but everyone has come through with no knocks, so I have a full squad to choose from.”