EDS & Academy

Harsley urges EDS: Let's give it our best shot

Paul Harsley has urged City's Under-21 charges to embrace the challenge of Wednesday night’s Leasing.com Trophy last 16 clash away at Scunthorpe United.

The City youngsters will travel to the League Two outfit having opened the New Year in winning style with a 1-0 victory over Liverpool, on our return to PL2 action last weekend.

Harsley’s young players earned the trip to Glanford Park by overcoming the stiff challenge of Shrewsbury in the EFL Trophy round of 32, securing a dramatic 6-5 penalty shootout win after the sides were locked at 1-1 after normal time.

And having blazed a trail to the quarter-finals in last season’s tournament, the manager is eager for his players to kick-on again this evening.

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“It’s a big game and it was good to get the three points and the first game of the year under our belt against Liverpool last weekend and the lads are looking alright.

“We could have scored more goals to be honest, but it was a good start. Three points was pleasing, and we move on from here.

“Obviously, it’s now a straight knockout tournament and we made it through the last-16 last year before getting knocked out in the quarter-finals. 

“We want to get to that point again, so we’ll be focusing on that from now and giving it our best shot again against another senior men’s team.”

Exciting young Dutch winger Jayden Braaf, who scored the only goal in Sunday’s win against Liverpool, echoed the manager’s words ahead of the trip to Scunthorpe.

And Braaf said it was a challenge that the EDS squad were all looking forward to.

“It’s an important game for us. Last year we did well in the competition, and we need to keep going and try to do it again. We need to win it,” said Braaf.

In the build-up to the last 16 encounter, several of Harsley’s young charges have been handed more opportunities to further their education on the senior stage.

Teenage central defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis made his first start at the Etihad in Saturday’s emphatic 4-1 FA C up third round win over Port Vale and marked the occasion by scoring.

EDS skipper Tommy Doyle, meanwhile, made his second senior appearance for the Club, coming on as a second half substitute.

And Harsley said the pair’s latest recognition was a further fillip for everyone in the Academy set-up. 

“It’s great that players are getting rewarded, like Taylor who played for the first team against Port Vale,” said the EDS boss. “It was also really good to see that Tommy also got on the pitch.

“It just shows again that we’ve got a good group of players together.”