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The under-18s return from the international break this afternoon with a home game against Leeds United at Gawthorpe.

We go into the game having won one, drawn one and lost one so far this season against the three north east clubs. We kicked off with that sensational 8-3 win at Newcastle and followed it up with a home draw against Middlesbrough, when they equalised right at the end.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get anything from the third game which was at Sunderland and we fell to a 2-0 defeat there two weeks ago.

Even so, we go into the game in third place but the early league table is such that we have just one point more than Manchester United who sit next to bottom.

Today’s opponents Leeds, like Manchester United, have three points. They too have won one game but lost the other two. On the day we were winning that opener at Newcastle, Leeds were beating Everton 2-1 at home but they’ve since been beaten twice, 1-0 at Nottingham Forest and 3-0 at home against Manchester United.

I think it is fair to say the home record against Leeds is good since. Having moved into the U18 Professional Development League in 2017, we beat them 2-1 in 2017/18 with goals from Terry Mupariwa and Mitch George, the latter from the penalty spot, and George scored twice in the following season, as did Michael Fowler in a 4-2 win.

The 2019/20 fixture was one still to be played when the season was cancelled but with both clubs acquiring Category 1 status in the summer of 2020, we played them for the first time last season in the U18 Premier League and won the home fixture 3-2 with Sam Unwin (pictured) scoring all three for the Clarets.

Today’s game kicks off at 1 p.m.

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