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Under-23 preview | Wolves vs Middlesbrough

Wolves under-23s are back on home turf this week as they invite league leaders Middlesbrough to Aggborough for their latest Premier League 2 clash.

James Collins’ men were in Papa John’s Trophy action last time out before the international break, with the development side earning a 2-1 win to move into the knockout stages of the competition.

Their opposition are coming into the game leading the Division 2 table thanks to four wins from their opening seven matches of 2020/21. However, just three points separate the top 10 of the 13 teams in the league – with Wolves currently standing in sixth place – meaning anything can happen in a tightly-contested season.

With the game to be played behind closed doors, supporters can still catch all the action live from Kidderminster on Wolves TV.

The match will be streamed online from 1.30pm, with Mikey Burrows providing full match commentary and available to watch on wolves.co.uk, the Wolves App or the Wolves YouTube channel.

The live Wolves TV match stream can be found here, or click here to watch on YouTube, while supporters can also catch download the Wolves App now on iOS here and on Android here.

WHEN

Friday, 1.30pm

WHERE

Aggborough, Kidderminster

LAST THREE

Wolves

2-1 vs Doncaster Rovers* (A) PJT

1-2 vs Sunderland (A)

3-0 vs Fulham (H)

Middlesbrough

0-1 vs West Bromwich Albion (H)

3-1 vs Norwich City (A)

3-0 vs Burnley (H)

*indicates first-team opposition

WHAT THE BOSS THINKS

On a focus on development

“It’s always development first. We’re trying to make the players better and ready for our first-team, and if they can’t be good enough for our first-team, then we’ve got to try and make some value out of them and get them to the highest possible level they can play at.

“That’s number one priority, but when you’re in a league, and this is the last age group you get to before first-team, winning is important. I’d be lying to say it’s not.

“Learning is the key. If they get an opportunity to train with our first-team players and first-team staff that can only help them when they come back to us or if they go somewhere else to play on loan.

“It’s a real plus point for our academy to have our under-23s regularly training with the first-team and something I’m really grateful for.”

On young players stepping up to the under-23s

“Our club is about challenging the players. Every club’s different and it’s each to their own of how they do it. Sunderland’s average age was 21 and a bit, our average age is just 18, but that’s what we want, and that’s the challenge for us.

“At times, it’s good to have experience and more senior players, but I was quite excited bringing Ollie Tipton and Tyler Roberts on against Sunderland because you want to see what they could do, and I thought they held themselves reasonably well.

“Roberts caused them a few problems and Tippo’s got some courage and bravery on the ball, which is why we brought him on, because we thought he would step in and show that bit of courage, and he did. It’s encouraging and that’s what we want from our young players.”

NEXT FIVE

20/11 Middlesbrough (H)

30/11 Newcastle United (A)

14/12 West Bromwich Albion (A)

18/12 Norwich City (A)

18/01 Burnley (A)

*indicates first-team opposition

#WolvesAcademy