Paul Harsley wants his Manchester City EDS players to seize the moment and secure a place in the Checkatrade Trophy knockout stages tonight.
Our EDS side take on League Two outfit Tranmere Rovers away at Prenton Park (kick-off 7pm) knowing that victory will be enough to earn a place in the last 32 of the competition.
After drawing their opening group stage game 1-1 at Shrewsbury before being edged out 3-1 on penalties, the City youngsters then secured a hugely impressive 4-1 win at Crewe last time out.
It leaves City currently in second place in Northern Group D on four points, one behind leaders Shrewsbury and one ahead of Crewe.
And with Town and Alex meeting next month in their final group game, Harsley knows that a win this evening would guarantee City’s qualification through to the knockout stages.
Said Harsley: “Everyone is looking forward to the game at Tranmere. It’s another challenge at another proper football ground, under the lights and the lads know that we’ve got a chance of getting through to the next round.
“It’s a different competition and it’s more or less knockout football. If we win we’re through, so there is a bit of pressure attached to it and that’s great.
“They are a League Two side and we know they are going to make it hard for us.
“But if we go and play our stuff, enjoy a bit more luck in front of goal and keep it tight at the back we stand every chance.
“We’ve really enjoyed the competition so far… the players, the coaches – we’ve all enjoyed the Checkatrade Trophy.
“So, we’re really looking forward to this game. We want to put on a good performance under the lights with a bit of pressure on the guys, and we can’t wait.”
The EDS squad will be back on Merseyside for the second time in 72 hours, following Saturday’s Premier League 2 clash away at Everton.
A youthful City side were unlucky to lose out 1-0 in a clash played at Goodison Park against an experienced Everton featuring first-teamers James McCarthy and Mason Holgate.
Now Harsley wants his young charges to replicate the way they played on Saturday – albeit by demonstrating a greater cutting edge in the opponents’ penalty box.
“There were so many positives but also there’s that’s sense of frustration that we didn’t get at least a draw at the weekend,” Harsley added.
“We knew that Everton are obviously a good team. Then when we got the team sheet and saw that James McCarthy and Mason Holgate were both starting it was like ‘Wow, they’ve gone even more experienced.’
“But it was great as it meant the challenge was ramped up again.
“They got a very early penalty but, to be fair to the players, the lads worked so hard and at the end we were left feeling frustrated we didn’t something out of the game.
“Overall, I was really pleased, and we will take every positive out of it. There was some really good build-up – we just need to find ourselves in the final third.”