Tranmere entertain Man City kids as they bow out of the Checkatrade Trophy at the group stage tonight.
The controversial competition has seen Rovers struggle, although it did start okay. Rovers came from a goal down to lead Crewe 3-1 going in to the closing stages of their opening game before somehow losing 4-3. A 6-0 drubbing a Shrewsbury followed, and that leaves Tranmere playing for pride tonight. Pride, and the £10k that victory would bring.
Micky Mellon will probably give fringe players the opportunity to play again. The likes of Ryan Williams, Franklyn Akammadu, Ben Tollitt, Dylan Mottley-Henry and possibly even Liam Ridehalgh will be in contention to play some minutes.
As for Manchester City, who should we expect to see play? Well, it’s Man City’s Elite Development Squad (EDS) that represents them in this tournament. So, unless you’re a keen follower of the youth game at the elite level, you won’t recognise the names. You’ll likely not see a squad number less than 50 either!
A familiar face could also accompany the City team to Prenton Park this evening.
The Man City U21 team will be managed by Paul Harsley tonight, however, there may be a more familiar face present in the dugout with him. Former Tranmere and Wales striker Gareth Taylor is Academy Manager at Man City and has been responsible for developing and nurturing a lot of the young players who will be on show tonight. He may also accompany Harsley in the dugout, or keep a watching brief from the Main Stand.
Taylor spent two seasons at Prenton Park as a player having joined from Nottingham Forest in 2006. While he wasn’t always universally popular, the old-fashioned centre forward scored ten goals in 60 appearances for the club before moving on to Doncaster Rovers.
Five Manchester City U21 players to watch
Tom Dele-Bashiru – midfielder – number 72
19-year-old midfielder Tom Dele-Bashiru is very highly-regarded at Man City. The former England under-16 player already has a senior Man City appearance to his name, coming on as a sub in last season’s Carabao Cup game against Leicester. He’s a fantastic athlete, as so many players in elite academies seemingly have to be these days. Great pace, terrific strength and a player who will pick the ball up and drive at the opposition from midfield. He scores a few goals from midfield at under-18 level and scored early on in City U21’s 4-1 thrashing of Crewe this season.
Jeremie Frimpong – full-back – number 71
Dutch full-back Frimpong has made excellent progress in the City youth set-up this year, and at 17-years-old, he’s already pushing his way through the under-21 age group. He’s a full-back who loves to attack, very much in the modern-day full-back mould.
Nabil Touaizi – striker – number 51
Touaizi joined City from Valencia in Spain in 2017 and has begun to make an impact already. He’s a tall and cultured young centre forward and one who looks like he would be at home in the EFL in future years if he doesn’t make the grade at Premier League level. He had an impressive first season at City scoring several goals for the under-18s as well starring in a win over Napoli in the UEFA Youth League.
Felix Nmecha – midfielder – number 61
Influential midfielder Flex Nmecha was born in Germany but is in his ninth season in City’s youth set-up. He’s featured in both Checkatrade Trophy games for City this season, including captaining the side in the win at Crewe.
Rabbi Matondo – striker – number 81
Rabbi Matondo returns to Merseyside tonight having been born in Liverpool. He’s a Wales under-21 player and a very exciting talent. At home on either wing, but preferring the right where he can often link-up with Frimpong, Matondo is blessed with lightning pace and no end of skills. He has end product too, and regularly weighs in with assists as well as goals.
Kick-off for tonight’s game is at the earlier time of 7pm. It will be available to stream on iFollow for £10 as a one-off match pass.