Huddersfield Town’s development team are ready to test themselves against some of the best players around when they head to Southampton in the second round of the Under 21 Premier League Cup.
The last 16 Monday-night meeting (7.00) is at St Mary’s Stadium, with Frankie Bunn’s side, who are unbeaten in 15 and have won all but one in that sequence, aiming to boot out the holders.
The young Saints lifted the trophy last season by beating Blackburn Rovers 2-1 after extra time following a goalless final first leg in east
Lancashire. The south coast side are eighth in the Under 21 Premier League top flight.
It involves the top 12 Under 21 teams in the country from those clubs with academies classed as category one under the Elite Player Performance Plan.
Pictures: Huddersfield Town U21s v Bolton Wanderers U21s
As a category two club, Town play in the Professional Development League and currently top the Northern Division.
They reached the quarter-finals of the Under 21 Premier League Cup last season, beating Barnsley, Everton and Charlton Athletic before going out to Reading.
This time Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough have been defeated, while Southampton, managed by Martin Hunter, have had just the one tie so far, seeing off Chelsea.
Millwall, Charlton, West Ham United, Blackburn, Hull City and Liverpool have already made the last eight.
Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion will contest the other outstanding second-round tie on Thursday.
Town’s winning run ended last Monday, when Crewe Alexandra claimed an 85th-minute equaliser after Wales Under 21 forward Jake Charles had put the home team ahead at PPG Canalside.
Luca Colville scored as Town Under 18s won 1-0 at Hull City. The first-year scholar struck in the 85th minute of the PDL game as Tony Carss’ charges, unbeaten in six, claimed a fourth win in that spell.
Town host Crewe Alexandra on Saturday (11.30).