Ben Wilkinson says City’s Under-18s will be all the better for getting their first 90 minutes of 2022 under their belt after a month’s hiatus.

Back in action at the CFA today for the first time in exactly a month, the City youngsters secured a narrow but deserved 2-1 Under-18 Premier League North win over an obdurate Burnley.

After a goalless first 45 minutes, second-half strikes from Kian Breckin and substitute Will Dickson helped secure all three points despite the Clarets claiming a late consolation.

And with several important games on the horizon including a key league trip to Liverpool this weekend and an FA Youth Cup fourth-round game at Brighton next Tuesday, Wilkinson was satisfied with the way we opened our New Year account.


“The lads will be a lot better for getting those 90 minutes under their belt,” Wilkinson asserted.

“We haven’t played for a month and half the team today didn’t play in the FA Youth Cup game so for those guys it’s been five weeks.

“So, I was never expecting it to be perfect in that first game back.

TARGET MAN: Kian Breckin strikes to fire City ahead against Burnley
TARGET MAN: Kian Breckin strikes to fire City ahead against Burnley

“It was also going to be tricky that first game back after the break – we’re pleased to have won.

“In the first half Burnley made it tough and difficult and I thought we lacked a bit of tempo, intensity and quality in terms of trying to break them down.

“We changed a few things around at the break and I thought we were much better for 30/35 minutes of the second half.


“We created a lot more. Moved the ball quicker and took less touches but the last 10 minutes we just lacked a bit of game intelligence and put ourselves under pressure but we got the three points.”

Tuesday’s victory moved reigning champions City up into second place in the table just two points behind leaders Blackburn – though the Lancashire side do have a game in hand.

It leaves City perfectly poised ahead of an intensive spell of games over the next few months.

MIDDLE MARCH: Josh Adam puts Burnley under pressure
MIDDLE MARCH: Josh Adam puts Burnley under pressure

And with City still involved in the league, FA Youth Cup and both the Under-18 and Undder-17 Premier League Cup, Wilkinson said every player in the squad will have a vital role to perform.

“It’s a very tight league and we know if we can perform to our top level and have a bit more consistency in the league, we can put ourselves in a good position,” Wilkinson added.

“If you look at next few weeks, we have a lot of Saturday/Tuesday games which is great.


“We are fortunate in that most of the guys are fit, and we will need everyone.

“We are still in four competitions, and – between now and then end of the season if we successful in all of them, we would play around 27/28 games – and that’s what you want.”