Ashley Smith-Brown is hoping that playing at Etihad Stadium will inspire City’s Elite Development side to victory over Manchester United on Saturday.
The Blues will face their local rivals in an Under-21 derby for the second time in less than two weeks in a 1pm kick-off, and will be keen to make amends for a 1-0 defeat when the two sides last met.
Coach Simon Davies’ side lost their subsequent outing when they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Leicester, but 19-year-old Smith-Brown feels the derby is the perfect fixture for a return to winning ways.
“I’m looking forward to playing, it’s a big game, and hopefully we’ll be able to showcase our talents in front of a good number of fans,” says Ashley.
“We lost to United in the reverse fixture, so we’ll be looking to get revenge for that and secure the win on Saturday.
“It will be the first opportunity I’ve had to play at the Etihad so it’s going to be a dream come true. I can’t wait for the game, it’s going to be a great experience for the team.”
Saturday will be a first for Ashley, not just out on the pitch but with the whole experience of preparing in surroundings that are normally the preserve of the City senior squad. Ashley and his team-mates will use the dressing rooms that the Blues’ established stars usually occupy, all part of a day that Ashley hopes to make a regular habit of in the future.
“I’ve not really thought about whose seat I’ll be sitting on,” he admits. “It’s going to be a good experience being in the first team changing room and hopefully it won’t be the last time.
“We’ve lost two on the bounce now but the boys are still confident. We’ve got a lot of quality players in the squad and we’ll be looking to put things right after recent results.
“The form table and league positions go out of the window when you play in a derby. You don’t need much encouragement when you’re playing against United, especially as we’ll be playing at the Etihad.”
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