Liam Delap has warned he is hungry for more goals after starting the new season in formidable fashion for City’s Under-21s in Tuesday night’s excellent 3-0 EFL Trophy Group E win at Mansfield Town.

The 17-year-old striker produced a hugely impressive all-round display, mixing pace, power and aggression to great effect and he capped a fine night’s work with two late goals to add to his first half assist for Adrian Bernabe’s opener.

It was the ideal way to kick-start the new campaign for City’s Elite Development Squad who have a new head coach – Italian Enzo Maresca – at the helm.

However, Delap – the son of former Stoke and Republic of Ireland star Rory Delap – who enjoyed a stellar season with City’s Under-18s last term, says he has an insatiable appetite for goals and is never satisfied unless he finds the target.

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“A 3-0 win, two goals and an assist, and clean sheet… there’s obviously more improvement to come – I probably could have had five or six – but at the end of the day it’s good,” Delap reflected.

“I had a few chances that I should have taken really but you have to keep playing until the last minute and obviously I got a few late on and we got the win that we needed.

“Before (with the misses) I would have got frustrated but I knew that I would keep getting chances and obviously to come away with two goals is not too bad.

“As a striker and the player I am, I need goals in my game – the only enjoyment I get out of the game is in scoring.

“I also enjoyed playing against bigger, stronger lads – it was a proper test.

“Some of their lads were six or seven years older than us but I think we showed them that we can compete.

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“I was excited to play against them – it was a taste of men’s football and that’s where I want to be so to get that opportunity and do well is only going to be good for me.”

The victory and mature nature of a fine all-round performance was the perfect confidence boost ahead of this Saturday’s start to the new Premier League 2 campaign when City’s EDS side play host to Derby County.

It’s a fixture that carries special significance for Delap given that he left the Rams to move to City in the summer of 2019.

DOUBLE STRIKE: Liam Delap fires home his second and City's third goal at the One Call Stadium
DOUBLE STRIKE: Liam Delap fires home his second and City's third goal at the One Call Stadium

But Delap insists his main focus – as well as that of all his team-mates – is on seeking to further improve and develop as well as looking to impress new head coach Maresca.

“We’ll take a lot of confidence from Tuesday,” Delap added.

“We start the league season against Derby who are my old club but it’s just another game where I need to try to do well and impress.

“I need to forget about the past and just focus on the here and now.

“I think we’ve had a really good start to the season in training.

“We’ve got a new manager who has come in – everyone wants to impress, and that hunger and determination is there with every single player on the pitch.

“And when you have got that all coming together it’s tough to beat.”