Lamine Kaba Sherif

Slender Derby Reverse For City's Under-23s

Leicester City's Development Squad were defeated 1-0 by Derby County in Premier League 2 Division 1 at King Power Stadium on Friday evening, courtesy of Cameron Cresswell's 29th-minute strike.
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City’s line-up featured two changes from their bitterly disappointing defeat at Blackburn Rovers a fortnight ago, with Sam Hughes and Luke Thomas returning to the starting XI.

Hughes, 21, who has been limited to a solitary substitute appearance this term due to a persistent back injury, was also named skipper for the Foxes on Filbert Way.

Later in the match, meanwhile, Layton Ndukwu (back) and Raúl Uche Rubio (shoulder) also returned from lengthy lay-offs - which will be greeted warmly by the Club's Under-23s set-up.

Development Squad

In Brief: Leicester City U23s 0 Derby County U23s 1

Watch selected highlights as the Foxes suffered a 1-0 defeat by Derby County at King Power Stadium on Friday night.

It was the Rams who emerged from the tunnel with the most attacking endeavour, however, as Alex Babos fired over early on before Josh Shonibare forced Viktor Johansson into a smart save.

While Admiral Muskwe was able to carve out a decent opportunity for City, his low effort trickled wide of the far post after linking up with right-back Louis Ramsay on the flank.

Just minutes after Ramsay had been called into action to clear Babos’ powerful drive off the line, Derby went ahead on the cusp of the half-hour mark through Cresswell.

Development Squad

Johansson Reflects On Derby U23s Loss

Goalkeeper Viktor Johansson speaks to LCFC TV following the Development Squad's defeat by Derby County.

Shonibare’s cross was headed towards goal by Jayden Mitchell-Lawson and, while Johansson was able to save the initial effort, the Swede could do little to stop Derby's No.9 from the rebound.

It was becoming a frustrating evening for City's youngsters and their swift return to the field after the half-time interval signalled their intend to put matters right.

Ndukwu, who has suffered from a back injury this term, replaced Ryan Loft at the break to appear for the first time since the return fixture, a 2-0 victory at Pride Park Stadium in September.

There was also time for Under-18s defender George Heaven to make his first appearance of the season for the Development Squad, too, as he replaced Hughes, following a 64-minute run-out.

Another player to complete his recovery midway through the second period was Uche Rubio, out with a shoulder injury since October, and the Spaniard's impact was also felt in the latter moments.

Firstly, with around 20 minutes to go, Ndukwu ran at Derby's defence and back-heeled it for Muskwe, but the Zimbabwe international striker's looping effort went over Matthew Yates' net.

The home side continued to press the Rams on Filbert Way but struggled to carve out clear-cut opportunities and, even with Johansson up for a corner in added time, the visitors held on at the end.

Who impressed?

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Viktor Johansson
Viktor Johansson

The young Swedish stopper has been a reliable figure this season.

While Leicester's goal was never subjected to an onslaught by the visitors, they did rely on the talents of goalkeeper Viktor Johansson at crucial points of the game.

The 20-year-old's first half save from Josh Shonibare was another example of those qualities and it is saves like that which explain why he's become such a key part of the Under-23s squad.

Where does it leave us?

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Sam Hughes
Sam Hughes

Hughes played for 64 minutes on his return from injury.

City's youngsters dip below Derby County to fourth place in Premier League 2 Division 1 with 27 points from 17 matches and a goal difference of +3.

Coming up…

Expand photo
Alex Pascanu
Alex Pascanu

Romania U21s international Pascanu stays close to his man.

Next Thursday night, the Foxes are due at St James' Park to tackle Exeter City in the Premier League Cup group stage (7pm GMT kick-off).

The details…

City: Johansson, Ramsay, L. Thomas, Kaba Sherif, Hughes (c) (Heaven 64'), Pascanu, Shade (Uche Rubio 68'), Dewsbury-Hall, Loft (Ndukwu 45’), Muskwe, Wright

Subs not used: Bramley, Edwards-John

Attendance: 571

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