Youngsters looking to take top spot in group gameOur Under-23 side will welcome Stoke City to Madejski Stadium this Friday in the Premier League Cup – and could go top of their group with a win over the Potters!
In their league competition, Stoke currently lie bottom of the Premier League 2 Division 2 after collecting just two wins from their first 10 fixtures. But under the stewardship of Glyn Hodges, they currently top Group H in this tournament - and they will have England international Jack Butland in their ranks, as the young stopper continues his return to fitness after a lengthy injury lay-off.
It is still early days in this competition, of course! The Royals won their only other group game so far – a 3-1 triumph in the Midlands against Birmingham City – while Friday’s visitors have won one and lost one.
We were the first ever winners of the competition back in 2014, when it was a straight knock-out format – but this time around we’ll play a total of six round-robin group fixtures, with the aim of reaching the second stage and progressing from there.
Our game against Birmingham was settled by three first-half goals by teenage trio Andy Rinomhota, Tom McIntyre and Tyler Frost back in October. The Potters meanwhile opened their campaign with a comprehensive 4-0 demolition of Sheffield United, but fell 2-1 to the Blues in their second fixture.
Hopes of progressing to the knock-out stages of the Premier League International Cup were ended with defeat to Athletic Bilbao last week – though we’ll host Hertha Berlin at Madejski Stadium in the last group game. And we've already seen off some high-profile opposition in the form of Man City and Chelsea in the league so far this season at Madejski Stadium!
But this age-group are still fighting on three fronts – in the Premier League 2, the Checkatrade Trophy (where we will visit Southampton later this month), as well as the Premier League Cup.
Kick-off on Friday is at 7pm – all entry and parking at Madejski Stadium is completely free. So come along and support our boys!