Paul Harsley is hoping Manchester City U21s can catch Shrewsbury Town off guard to continue our run in the Leasing.Com Trophy.
Our EDS cohort, bolstered by convincing wins against Blackburn Rovers and Shakhtar Donetsk, travel to New Meadow for a second-round clash at 7.30pm on Tuesday evening, when we will come up against the 12th placed League One outfit, who have won three of their last four games.
Impressive victories against Rochdale and Bradford City saw City top Group F to reach this stage and though we’ll conceded years of experience to Sam Ricketts’ first team, Harsley believes we can pose a different test to what the Shrews are used to.
“We’ve had a week without a game so we’ve been fully focused Shrewsbury,” he said.
“We’ll expect what we always get, a tough, physical challenge and we’ll go there with our playing style hoping to disrupt what they usually face.
“We always look forward to these games. The lads look forward to it. It’s a different challenge on a proper league ground and hopefully we can do what we did last year.”
Harsley guided City to the last eight in 2018/19, beating Barnsley and Rochdale along the way before a 2-0 defeat to Sunderland, though he should again be able to call on nine of the group who featured in that tie.
Played at the Stadium of Light and against established first teamers, it was a valuable experience and one both players and staff enjoyed.
The EDS boss admits another run to the latter stages is an enticing prospect, but is refusing to put any pressure on his players, knowing Chelsea's run to the semi-final two years ago is the best any academy side has managed since being allowed to enter the competition in 2016/17.
“Let’s see where it takes us,” he added.
“I think the lads loved it last year. We got to the quarter finals and played Sunderland away.
“I think everyone got a taste for it and we just want to go as far as we can.”