City Elite Development Squad warm up for their debut Barclays u21 Premier League campaign with a home match against TNS on Friday afternoon.
It will be interesting to see which players step down from pre-season first team duty to feature for the under 21s and possibly even give a clue as to whether any of these players have done enough in pre-season to be involved with the first team at the Community Shield on Sunday.
Karim Rekik, Denis Suarez, George Evans and Marcos Lopes have all been named in the EDS’ NextGen Series squad, so Atillio Lombardo could see this friendly against the Welsh outfit as an opportunity to bring in some of the youngsters that impressed so much in Austria and the Far East.
The New Saints first-team finished top of the Welsh league last season and lost 3-0 to Helsingborgs in the recent Champions League qualifier.
Lombardo recently gave a squad list to the NextGen Series, the continental youth club competition which began last year.
The squad for that competition is not set in stone, as we saw last year when plenty of u18s were promoted for valuable experience against Marseille, Celtic and Barcelona.
The squad: Angus Gunn, Ian Lawlor, Billy O’Brien, Liam Sharp, Ellis Plummer, Karim Rekik, Courtney Meppen Walters, Gregory Leigh, Ashley Smith-Brown, Kieron Kennedy, Shay Facey, Sadiq El-Fitouri, Emyr Huws, George Swan, James Horsfield, James Hardy, Louis Hutton, Adam Drury, George Evans, George Glendon, Sinan Bytyqi, Denis Suarez, Dominic McHale, Marcos Lopes, Alex Henshall, Albert Rusnak, Jose Pozo, Jordy Hiwula, Devante Cole.
This year the team will take on Juventus, Fenerbache and Paris St Germain in the tournament
The EDS were last in action against Oldham, where the Blues went down 2-1 at Boundary Park, despite fielding a clutch of first-team stars. Before then, the u21s defeated Stockport County 2-1, thanks to a Jordy Hiwula brace.
Kick-off is at 14:00 on Friday at Platt Lane.