EDS & Academy

City expecting ‘tough’ Forest challenge, says Wilkinson

Ben Wilkinson is expecting a tough challenge for his players when we face Nottingham Forest in the Under-18 Premier League North on Tuesday.

City travel to the Nigel Doughty Academy for a 13:30pm (UK)  kick-off on the back following an electric victory over Wolves last time out, with the game live on CITY+ and Recast.

We ran out 8-0 winners over the Midlands side on Saturday to immediately return to winning ways after drawing to Sunderland the week before.

Alongside the impressive scoreline, there were more reasons than one to be pleased after the goals were shared among seven of our youngsters.

And although our head coach was delighted with the showing on home soil, he revealed the challenge of Forest highlights the demanding schedule of under-18s football perfectly.

Last time City faced Gareth Holmes' side, we fell to a 2-1 defeat in March 2022, as Detlef Esapa Osong's second half goal was enough to secure three points for the hosts.

“It’s another great game and always a difficult one at Forest away. They’re a good team and have good players and they play at a high tempo,” explained Wilkinson.

“They’ll get after us and we’ve found it really difficult there last season, so it’s going to be a really tough challenge.

“Again, [it will] probably look different from Wolves, which is the good thing about our programme because you can have a game like Wolves and then the game on Tuesday is going to be really difficult.

“It’s about refocusing the players on Monday, having a game plan and getting ready to try and deliver the same sort of performance.”

Across the opening 10 league games this season, City have won six, drawn two and lost two.

The return of 20 points sees us sit second in the league table behind summit side Sunderland, who have respectably lost just once this season.

And the challenge of retaining the title is one Wilkinson is relishing.

“It’s [the challenge] great. There’s a lot of games and it’s a long season,” he said.

“It will play out how it will play out. We feel that if we play anywhere near our best, we have a really good chance.

“We showed that today and we’ve been off it in the last two to three weeks and we challenged the players to raise our level a little bit.

“If we continue to play like we did today then I think we’ll have a great chance.”