U21s to take on Saints in Checkatrade Trophy knockout stagesReading's Under-21 side will travel to Southampton to take on the Saints' U21s side in the Second Round of the Checkatrade Trophy next month.
The Royals went into their final Southern Group A tie at home to a strong Yeovil Town first team last night, already assured of their place in the knockout stages thanks to Portsmouth's win at home to Bristol Rovers the previous evening.
Our young side beat League One's Rovers in their first game in the competition before drawing 2-2 at Portsmouth and earning a vital bonus point via a dramatic penalty shootout. But a 2-0 defeat to the Glovers at Madejski Stadium meant Martin Kuhl's men missed out on the chance to top the table and cement a home tie in Round Two - so the Royals' youngsters have been pitted against a Southampton Categoy One outfit that are unbeaten in the competition to date.
We are one of only eight remaining Category One Academy teams left in the competition after half the invited sides bowed out in the group stages - inlcuding the likes of Chelsea, Everton and West Ham. And we now look forward to young players gaining more valuable experience in a competitive game against a Southampton side who beat Crawley 4-0 at St Mary's in the last of their group games this week.
The Saints U23s sit in fourth place in the Premier League 2 and beat Reading's U23s 3-1 at Staplewood earlier this season, so that gives a good indication of the challenge that now faces our youngsters in their attempts to reach the last 16. However, our U18s earned a 1-1 draw against the south coast side back in August. And, of course, Southampton's first team lifted the Trophy back in 2010- thanks in part to Michail Antonio's birthday goal at Wembley!
Reading were ball number 9 in this morning's regionalised draw, which was broadcast live on Sky Sports News, and ties between the 32 remaining clubs are due to take place in the week commencing 5th December 2016.