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The under-21s face high riding Bristol City this afternoon in the Professional Development League and it will be our first game at Leyland for eight weeks.

That last game there was a 3-0 defeat against a very strong Wigan side. We’ve played six league games since but the two home fixtures in those six, against Coventry and Peterborough, were both played at Gawthorpe.

With four games remaining in the league, we go into today’s game in fifth place in the table, still pushing for a second place finish that will see us get into the end of season play-offs. Sheffield United have won the league by a country mile but only Sheffield Wednesday of the remaining teams are completely ruled out of a top two finish, so tight is it.

As it stands, Wigan with 33 points look the most likely. Hull are behind them on goal difference while Crewe and then ourselves are two points behind although next to bottom Birmingham are only four points behind us with a game in hand.

There are no clear champions in the south group but Millwall and Bristol City are well positioned to take the top two places. As things stand, Millwall lead Bristol City by two points but have played a game more.

We followed that defeat against Wigan with two wins, one at Hull and then at home against Coventry but since its’ been just one point from four games which have included three away defeats.

Having lost at home to Colchester in February, Bristol City have won three and drawn two of their five games since and that includes draws against both league leaders Millwall and Sheffield United.

Today will be the first time we’ve met Bristol City at home in the Professional Development League. The game was designated as a home game in 2019/20 season but was due to be played in April with the season ended by then.

In the two previous seasons we’d been beaten by them away. In 2017/18 we lost 3-1. Diego de Girolamo scored a hat trick for Bristol City with our goal scored by Jamie Thomas. In the following season, Rob Harker, who scored for Halifax in the National League two days ago, gave us the lead. They levelled before half time but Jordan Cropper blazed a penalty over the bar early in the second half but Dan Agyei, who is now scoring goals for Crewe, scored a late stoppage time penalty for us although, by then, Bristol City had scored a further two goals to ensure a 3-2 win. Both of those games were played at Ashton Gate.

Today’s game at Leyland kicks off at 2 p.m. and admission is free of charge.

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