Enzo Maresca has urged City’s Under-21s to embrace the challenge of tonight’s latest EFL Trophy test away at Scunthorpe United as we seek to take another step towards the knockout stages.

City made the best possible start to our Group E campaign earlier this month, recording an impressive 3-0 win away at Mansfield with Liam Delap claiming a late brace of goals.

The trip to tackle the Iron however will represent another huge challenge for City.

The hosts picked up their first League Two win of the season at home to Carlisle last weekend – and know all about City having recorded a 3-1 win over us in January during a last-16 EFL trophy clash.


But with City top of Group E after Scunthorpe drew their opener against Lincoln, Maresca believes the trip to the Sands Venue Stadium (kick-off 7pm) is a hugely exciting prospect for his players.

“Winning tomorrow would be a big step towards going through to the next round so that is a big incentive for us,” the EDS head coach declared.

“I think we can take confidence from the way we played at Mansfield. That was a good match and I think we deserved to win.

“It’s exciting for us all – another big challenging of playing a professional team.

“For the lads it will be an extra incentive and input.

“But we also know that physically there will be a big difference between Scunthorpe and ourselves, so we have to find a way to try to keep the ball and to try get another win

“It’s one more game and we have the chance to do something better and to look to improve every game.


While the City youngsters enjoyed a fine start to our EFL Trophy campaign, the opening two games of our Premier League 2 season have ended in huge frustration.

Despite playing some football in spells, City saw Derby fight back from 3-1 down on 85 minutes to claim a 3-3 draw at the Academy Stadium in our first league outing before Blackburn scored a 97th minute winner to snatch victory at Leyland 10 days ago.

For Maresca the lessons are crystal clear for his young charges – with City again fielding a side predominantly made up of 18 and 17-year-olds.

“We should have won both our first two PL 2 games – in both matches we played a good 70 minutes and did many good things.

“In both games we were winning but, as I told the players, the game is 95 minutes, so we need to do the right thing for 95 minutes and not only 70.

“But, to be honest, they are giving 100 per cent in every session so I’m pretty sure we can see the team improving and winning again.

“We know that we are a very young team – as I said to the guys ‘I don’t care about that - I don’t want any excuse.’

“They are young, but they are good players and they can compete against any team.”