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gawthorpe 2Bolton Wanderers lead the way in the north groups of both the U23 and U18 leagues this season while down south the top position is held by Crystal Palace in both groups, and it is Palace who we face tomorrow morning at Gawthorpe.

Palace are six points clear of Watford in the south group and ten points clear of the next two, Millwall and Charlton, which suggests their place in the end of season competition involving the top two in each league is all but secure.

They’ve been beaten only four times in 24 games this season and became the first team to reach 50 points last week when they beat Crewe 5-0 at home.

Both us and Palace headed our groups a couple of months ago but while they have gone from strength to strength, results wise, we have faltered and picked up only one win in the last nine games, that a week ago at Coventry and we followed that up with a 2-1 defeat at Hull in midweek.

We’ve been unable to field our strongest team for much of the season with a number of the squad used almost exclusively in the under-23s and to add to that we’ve had a number of injuries that have seen us dipping into the under-16s at times.

We go into the game in third place in the table but the league is so close we hold just a three point advantage over Birmingham in sixth place and we’ve played at least two games more than any other team in league. To get anywhere near that top two this season we won’t be able to afford to drop too many points.

Kick off tomorrow at Gawthorpe is 11 a.m.

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