City EDS v Crystal Palace U21s Friday 23 November 2012 Platt Lane training ground Kick-off: 12pm Free entry
City Elite Development Squad face Crystal Palace on Friday afternoon looking to climb off the bottom of National Group 3 in the Barclays U21 Premier League.
Attilio Lombardo’s side will be buoyed by the penalty shootout victory over Stockport County in the Manchester Senior Cup on Monday as they try to secure a first league win since the end of August.
It marks another meeting between Lombardo and the club he made more than 40 appearances for back in the nineties.
City drew their last meeting with Palace back on 1 October, when Marcos Lopes’s goal equalised on the stroke of half-time to cancel out an early Ellis Plummer own goal.
On that night, Denis Suarez was in inspired form and there’s no question he’s left a huge gap in the team since he suffered his injury in the meeting with Wolves at the Etihad Stadium back in October.
Suarez is one of a few injury problems currently plaguing the EDS, with Kieron Kennedy and Jordy Hiwula also missing.
City are currently a point adrift of the Eagles at the bottom of the table, but a win at Platt Lane will see them climb up three places to fifth.
It’s looking increasingly unlikely but If City can force their way into the top three of the table in the final three games they will qualify automatically for the Elite Stages of the new-look league system but if they fail they will go into a further qualifying group with the counterparts from the other two groups.
Teams that finish in third, fourth and fifth, as well as the best placed sixth team from the three groups will go into Qualification Group Tier 1, while those finishing bottom will play in Qualification Group Tier 2.
After the clubs have played the second group stage (again home and away) the top sides progress to a knock-out phase. The two teams who finish top of the Qualification Groups will compete in a play-off to reach the first semi-final.
The winner of this tie will play the team that finishes top of the Elite Group Stage. The teams that finish second and third in the Elite Group Stage play in the other semi-final.