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18 January 2019

Latics travel to Scunthorpe United in the area semi-final of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup on Saturday afternoon.

  • Academy Preview: Latics Under 18s face Scunthorpe United in the area semi-final of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup.
  • Latics edged out Lincoln City 1-0 in the quarter-final in December.
  • Latics aiming to continue unbeaten run after 6-2 victory over Hull City last-time out.

Latics’ Under 18s visit Scunthorpe United in the area semi-final of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup on Saturday.

A hard-fought 1-0 win over Lincoln City back in December earned Latics their place in the last four with top goal-scorer Charlie Jolley’s winner proving to be the difference between the two sides.

As well as progressing to the final of the Lancashire FA Youth Cup final and remaining runaway leaders in the Youth Alliance, Latics also progressed to the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup last Saturday, following a 6-2 win over Hull City at the KCOM Stadium.

A hat-trick from England youth international, Joe Gelhardt, as well as goals from Charlie Jolley (2) and Divin Baningime capped off a deserved victory for Latics, who also beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 at Molineux Stadium in the third round of the competition.

Latics go into the semi-final on Saturday unbeaten this season, scoring 17 goals in five games. After a 5-0 victory over Rochdale in the semi-final of the Lancashire FA Youth Cup, Wigan Athletic will be full of confidence, with Charlie Jolley scoring five goals in his last five appearences.

Hosts, Scunthorpe United, come into the game sitting eighth place in the North East Division of the Youth Alliance, just one point adrift of seventh-placed, Chesterfield Town.

The Iron have won two of their last five games in all competitions, including a quarter-final win against Blackpool on penalties in December, before narrowly beating Latics’ quarter-final opponents, Lincoln City, 1-0 in their first game of 2019.

An impressive 4-2 victory against Hartlepool United and a 1-0 win over Rotherham United see the hosts full of confidence ahead of Latics’ visit, with a place in the final of the Youth Alliance Cup making it all to play for.

Academy coach, Peter Murphy, said the team can’t afford to be complacent ahead of a tough encounter against Scunthorpe:

“The lads will be full of confidence and rightly so, but we can’t afford to be complacent and must take our chances when they come and I’m sure our strikers, who are all scoring goals, are more than capable of doing that”, he said.

Murphy also praised the efforts of his squad collectively following the victory over Hull City in the FA Youth Cup:

“We’ve got the lads on the bench that if we had to use them, it would be no problem.

“It’s a great team off the pitch and a great team on the pitch, it’s good that if we have to go to our options on the bench, it’s not a problem for us.

“Everyone’s backing each other, the staff are backing the players as you can see this season, and as a coach that’s all you can ask for.”

Scunthorpe, who have comfortably beaten all their opponents in reaching the semi-final, will be full of confidence and Peter Murphy commended Latics’ opponents ahead of the fixture:

“You don’t get to the semi-final if you’re not a good team, you don’t get there by accident.

“We haven’t seen much of them, but we know if we play well, we’ve got a chance of getting a result from the game.”

Murphy also provided an update on the squad ahead of the visit to Scunthorpe:

“Mitchell (Culshaw) made his return on Tuesday which is a boost for us, Mackenzie O’Neill is also back in training, so we’re getting a few bodies back now which is pleasing as a coach.

“We’ve got lots of options there and everyone’s training really well, but we’ll get together as staff and pick the team that we think can go out and get a result against Scunthorpe on Saturday."

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