Leicester City U23s

City's Under-23s Set For Final Run-In

Preparing to enter the final five fixtures of the 2020/21 Premier League 2 Division 1 season, LCFC.com reviews the Leicester City Development Squad's campaign to date.

The Foxes got up and running in the Papa John's Trophy, defeating Sky Bet League 1 side Hull City at KCOM Stadium in September 2020.

Not overawed by their senior opponents, the visitors opened the scoring through Callum Wright and snatched victory when George Hirst converted an injury-time penalty, sending City to the top of Group H.

The new Premier League 2 Division 1 campaign also began in impressive fashion as goals from Ali Reghba and a stunning long-range effort from Mitch Clark helped record a 2-0 victory over Manchester United Under-23s at Leigh Sports Village.

Following that goal and clean sheet, Clark was shortlisted for the Premier League 2 Player of the Month in September.

Development Squad

Goals: Manchester United U23s 0 Leicester City U23s 2

Watch both goals as the Club's youngsters opened their Premier League 2 Division 1 campaign with an away win at Manchester United.

However, the Foxes soon endured a tough spell, tasting defeat at the hands of Everton (3-0), Blackburn Rovers (4-0), Derby County (2-1) and Manchester City (4-0).

Harrogate Town also ran out 3-1 winners in a Papa John's Trophy clash at Keepmoat Stadium, despite Thanawat Suengchitthawon's late goal, but City remained in the hunt to qualify for the knockout stages.

An upturn in league results followed as City recorded an impressive 4-0 victory away at previously unbeaten Brighton & Hove Albion Under-23s in late October.

Jake Wakeling netted a first-half brace ahead of Wright and Tyrese Shade putting further gloss on the scoreline on the south coast.

Development Squad

Goals: Brighton & Hove Albion U23s 0 Leicester City U23s 4

Enjoy all four goals from the Development Squad's 4-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion in Premier League 2.

November started with a 3-1 victory at Grimsby Town in the final Papa John's Trophy group stage fixture, booking Leicester's place in the second round. Behind at the break, City scored three times in a whirlwind 16-minute second-half spell.

Wright's equaliser and an inch-perfect free-kick from Sidnei Tavares had the visitors in front, before Admiral Muskwe added to the scoreline on his return to the starting XI following a long-term injury.

Back in league action, City welcomed West Ham United Under-23s to King Power Stadium, playing their first home game of the season. Despite an early red card for Vontae Daley-Campbell, the Foxes came away with another three points.

Demarai Gray's double, both set up by Khanya Leshabela, including an 87th minute winner, was enough to continue an impressive run of form.

Development Squad

Goals: Leicester City U23s 2 West Ham United U23s 1

Enjoy the goals from King Power Stadium as a brace from Demarai Gray sealed victory for Leicester City's Development Squad.

November ended in some style as Leicester put five past Tottenham Hotspur Under-23s at Hotspur Way, making it four successive wins in all competitions and recording the biggest win of the campaign. Layton Ndukwu, Muskwe, Wakeling and Wright (2) were all on the scoresheet in another big away success.

There was late drama on the next trip to the capital, however, when Chelsea Under-23s scored an 88th-minute winner, condemning City to a first loss in five games, despite Muskwe's second-half leveller, before back-to-back away defeats to Southampton Under-23s and Arsenal Under-23s finished off the 2020 calendar.

The Foxes fared better in the Papa John's Trophy, progressing into the last-16 after a dramatic tie with Salford City at Peninsula Stadium. Twice trailing by two goals, Leicester showed their powers of recovery thanks to another two strikes from Muskwe, taking his tally to five goals in as many games.

A superb lob from Shane Flynn equalised late on, making it 3-3 on the night and taking the game to penalties, where City triumphed 6-5, missing just one of their seven spot kicks. Goalkeeper Jakub Stolarczyk was the hero, saving twice, including a sudden death penalty, to advance in the competition.

Development Squad

Goals: Salford City 3 Leicester City Development Squad 3 (5-6 Pens)

The goals from a dramatic EFL Trophy tie that saw the young Foxes progress past League 2 outfit Salford City.

The Development Squad visited Tranmere Rovers for the third round tie but their cup journey came to an end at Prenton Park, going down 4-2 after a spirited display which included goals from Wakeling and Suengchitthawon.

The PL2 schedule resumed in style as the Foxes completed a league double over Manchester United Under-23s in January 2021. It was also a significant game for the Club - marking the first competitive fixture to be played at the magnificent new LCFC Training Ground in Seagrave.

Wright opened the scoring within 60 seconds and Suengchitthawon doubled the advantage soon after. But the visitors hit back to draw level before half-time.

Wakeling put City back in front immediately after the break and Suengchitthawon added his second of the evening to seal a 4-2 victory.

Development Squad

Goals: Leicester City U23s 4 Manchester United U23s 2

The Foxes hit four in their first Premier League 2 Division 1 fixture at LCFC Training Ground on Monday evening.

Wright and Wakeling were both on the scoresheet again the following week, though it was in a 4-2 defeat to Everton Under-23s, and an experienced Blackburn Rovers Under-23s side also came away with three points, winning 3-1, despite Reghba's strike.

Will Russ then scored in a narrow 2-1 defeat against Derby County Under-23s, before Manchester City Under-23s were big winners at LCFC Training Ground, though Wakeling was again among the goals, converting a late penalty to net his sixth of the season.

Form improved at the end of February, securing a 1-1 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion Under-23s courtesy of Kasey McAteer's goal, ahead of another score draw against the current PL2 champions, Chelsea Under-23s.

The Foxes had to come from behind, with Shade equalising in the second half before surviving a late onslaught to earn what could prove to be a crucial point.

Development Squad

Goals: Leicester City U23s 1 Chelsea U23s 1

Tyrese Shade netted for the Foxes in their 1-1 draw with Chelsea Under-23s at LCFC Training Ground on Monday evening.

Last time out, meanwhile, a stunning McAteer strike away at West Ham United Under-23s wasn't enough to take anything from the trip to East London, though there were plenty of positives to take heading into a three-week break from competitive action.

Speaking following the fixture at Rush Green, Assistant Senior Professional Development Phase Coach, Ben Petty told LCFC TV: "We'll look forward to the next two or three weeks to get the lads fully fit again and keep working on areas of the game where we think we can improve. We're well up for the fight now and it's going to be a really good end to the season."

Currently sitting 11th in the table with 17 points from 19 games, City's Under-23s will aim to push further away from the bottom two when their Premier League 2 Division 1 campaign resumes on Monday 12 April, facing Tottenham Hotspur Under-23s at LCFC Training Ground (6pm BST kick-off).

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