Under-21s aim to wrap up qualification
Manchester United's Under-21s will clinch a place in the knockout stages of the Leasing.com Trophy by avoiding defeat at Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night, live on MUTV.
Neil Wood's Reds currently sit top of Northern Group H after successive victories at Doncaster Rovers and Lincoln City in our first involvement in the competition against senior sides from the lower divisions.
Despite the strong start by United, Doncaster will move to the summit with any victory at the Keepmoat Stadium due to the fact they have scored more goals than the Reds. Rovers looked in good form last time out in League One, with a 7-1 away triumph at Southend United.
United could still progress even if the result goes against us in South Yorkshire, but that will depend on how Rotherham United fare against Lincoln City on 12 November.
The team news will be interesting with the first team taking on Chelsea in Wednesday's Carabao Cup tie at Stamford Bridge. Dylan Levitt and Angel Gomes both picked up knocks in Friday's Premier League 2 victory over Stoke City, when Largie Ramazani came off the bench to continue his good form with the third goal.
Gomes is one of six starting members of the team that faced Rotherham in August who have since made a senior matchday squad, along with Matej Kovar, Ethan Laird, Brandon Williams, James Garner and Tahith Chong, so much will depend on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's selection for the journey to the capital.
The win at Lincoln City last time out in the competition was a testament to the character and resolve of a young side missing many of the more experienced players.
“It was a really tough game, playing professional football against men,” said midfielder Aliou Traore.
“It was hard to match up, in terms of physicality. We know in terms of technique and passing we can be better than them but, for physicality, we had to match up. We did pretty well, everyone fought together and we had the win in the end. We're playing in a tournament and want to win but it's still development for us and the staff.”
Defender Di'Shon Bernard, who helped keep a clean sheet in that 1-0 triumph at Sincil Bank, said:
“The EFL Trophy has been the biggest challenge for us, playing against older men. Me and Teden [Mengi] coped really well but it was a good test for us. All of us want to be pushing to the next step now, which is professional football so a cup like this is a good test.”
Full-back Ethan Laird, who scored the club's maiden goal in the competition at Rotherham, added:
“It was probably one of the hardest games I've ever had, with the physical challenge alone. It was a physically hard game. Everyone is looking forward to Doncaster - not just the team but everyone around the complex. It's a lot of pressure but I think we can deal with it.”