Preview ahead of this weekend’s fixture as Latics host Port Vale in an attempt to make it 12 straight victories in 2018-19.
- Academy Preview: Latics Under 18s entertain Port Vale at Christopher Park at 11.00am.
- Latics hoping to extend their six-point lead at the top of the table.
- Under 18s hoping to build on impressive cup win against Bradford City last time out.
Wigan Athletic Under 18s return to action this weekend when they host Port Vale in the EFL Youth Alliance at Christopher Park on Saturday.
Latics arrive home off the back of a 3-1 away victory against Bradford City in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup, making it three wins from three in the group, with two goals from forward Charlie Jolley who this week put pen to paper on his first professional contract.
The clubs last met in March, with Jolley’s strike the difference between the two sides in Staffordshire, as Latics won four of their last five games to extend their league at the top of the table.
The encounter before this was in February. Latics will be hoping to avoid a repeat after Will McGuffie’s equaliser earned them a 1-1 draw in a frustrating afternoon at Christopher Park.
Visitors, Port Vale, will be boosted ahead of the weekend after their 2-1 victory over Tranmere Rovers last time out, meaning they sit seventh in the Youth Alliance table, two points behind Preston North End in fifth place.
Academy manager, Gregor Rioch, has confirmed Latics duo Joe Gelhardt and Jensen Weir will be unavailable due to international involvement, though James Berry nears a return following a lengthy set-back on the side-lines:
“Jensen (Weir) and Joe (Gelhardt) will be unavailable as they have a games for England, but we are hoping James Berry will be back in contention for Port Vale after his full week of training”, he said.
“The injuries will breed more competition for places which is always healthy for the group, and we’re hoping we can continue the good start to the season that the lads have provided.”
Rioch also provided updates on the fitness of Victor Maffeo and Ollie Broe after they continue their recoveries from injury:
“Victor isn’t far away now, though Ollie Broe will miss out which is a blow for us, but hopefully he takes this time to take stock, reflect and come back stronger”, he explained.
“We also hope to include Ryan Galvin, who has featured mostly for the Development Squad, it would be good for him to get some more match minutes under his belt and adapt to the physical aspects.”