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Man City U18s v Stoke City: Key battles

KEEPING FOCUSED: Phil Foden and Ed Francis will have important roles for Manchester City against Stoke City.

KEEPING FOCUSED: Phil Foden and Ed Francis will have important roles for Manchester City against Stoke City.

Manchester City welcome Stoke City to the Academy Stadium for the first leg of their FA Youth Cup semi-final on Friday but where will it be decided?

Having seen off Reading, LiverpoolSouthampton and Aston Villa, City will be looking for a positive showing in the first match of the two-legged tie.

Click here for everything you need to know about the tie...

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Who will be City's star men at the Academy Stadium and who should Lee Carsley's side keep their eyes on...

Ed Francis v Tyrese Campbell

Former City striker Campbell is the competition's leading scorer, with seven goals in four matches to his name, and forms half of a deadly striking duo. His partnership with the physically dominant Jordan Greenidge gives Stoke a very traditional threat and both of City's centre backs are likely to be kept occupied.

That's why Francis' composure, whether on the ball or in a decisive defensive situation, will be crucial for City throughout the 180 minutes of the tie. Working alongside captain Joel Latibeaudiere, much of Francis' game this season has involved starting attacks but they may have to do their fair share of work to protect Aro Muric's goal on Friday night.

Phil Foden v Jake Dunwoody

Phil Foden has enjoyed a stellar season so far. Starring on the left of City's midfield three, the 16-year-old can breeze past opponents with or without the ball or pick out the likes of Jadon Sancho, Brahim Diaz or Lukas Nmecha up top. Foden has already had crucial involvements in this season's Youth Cup - scoring against Reading and Southampton.

The Stockport-born technician will likely be up against another ex-City player and current Stoke captain Jake Dunwoody. Dunwoody is a steely and determined central midfielder with an eye for a strong tackle and therefore the kind of player Foden will have to become used to facing if he is to progress to the highest level of the game.

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Picture Special

Gallery: U18s prepare for Stoke semi-final