Simon Davies expects his City Premier League 2 side to rise to the challenge of a Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.
City welcome their rivals for Friday evening’s clash only hours before the clubs’ first teams face off at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime.
Playing their own derby on the same weekend as one of the world’s biggest matches is an excellent experience for City’s youngsters, according to boss Davies.
“Any derby brings its own pressure and as much as any coach may try to big it up or belittle it, it’s City v United so that means the players have to be aware of what is expected,” said Davies.
“Dealing with that pressure is an important challenge that this level is providing for the players.”
“United have got some quality individuals and they’re very passionate. They play with a great deal of team spirit so we’ve got to match that but we’re confident we’ve got our own quality and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Davies’ side, comprising largely of last season’s U18 Premier League champions, are having to adapt to a league containing a host of more experienced players.
The Blues sit fifth in the table after two wins and a loss in the early stages of the season and Davies is happy with the team’s progress so far.
“It’s been a really interesting start for such a young group playing in an U23 league after dominating in their own age group in the pre-season tournament in Germany.
“They played well against Derby and after a flowing first half against a technical Arsenal, they were dogged and stuck to the task.
“The only blip to it so far was the first half against Reading when really we didn’t do enough of the ugly side of the game and gave ourselves too much to do to come back.
“This is proving to be the correct challenge for the players and I think it will help our goal in the long run of ensuring they play at the highest level possible at one of the best teams in Europe.”
Davies doesn’t expect the international break to affect the team’s fluency, insisting the club have done all they can to keep all the players prepared for the resumption of the season.
He said: “Across the club we’ve mixed in together and had in-house games to keep fitness levels up and allow the players to work on things ready for the big games coming ahead.
“All of the team, not just the players, are working as closely to first team standard as we can. That means we’re always learning as much as we can about every opposition while never losing sight of our own philosophy.”
Kick off at the Etihad Stadium is 7pm on Friday September 9 and you can buy tickets here.