Will Dean says it has been a beneficial experience playing in front of a good-sized crowd in the Under-23 Premier League Cup this season ahead of Thursday’s showdown with Leicester City.
The Grecians going into the match knowing only a victory is good enough to see them qualify for the knockout stages of the competition, with them currently sitting behind second-placed Leicester in the Group D table on goal difference with one game to go.
Will says it would be good to qualify from the group as playing in the competition gets the players ready for first-team action.
“The more fans that are there on Thursday night the more it will push us on even more,” he said. “The competition is good for experience because playing in front of the supporters makes it feel like a League Two game. It adds that pressure which is good.”
City drew away at Leicester when the two sides met earlier in the group stage and Dean knows they will be a tough opponent.
“We have already played them once and they are a really good side,” he said. “We know it is out of us and them to battle for that second spot. It is a winner-takes-all game and we are going to put everything into it and try and get the three points.
“They were very good on the ball and good at passing through the midfield. They had a few good central midfielders and then had a big central man up top and he was a threat. They have got a lot of athletic players who are quick and strong.”
However, City are a threat themselves having beaten Norwich City 3-0 away last time out. They have put some good performances in the competition and are, perhaps, unfortunate to only have five points to their name at this stage.
“We have actually played quite well, bar the game against Nottingham Forest at home,” said Will. “We are really happy with our performances we just haven’t had the points to show for it. I think at home to Norwich everyone could see that we were the better side on the night and we could have won the game. We then won back at their place and played well away against both Leicester and Nottingham. So, apart from the Nottingham Forest game, at home, we are happy with how we have done so far we just need to top it off with a good performance on Thursday and try and get through to the knockout round.
“We can take a lot of confidence from that Norwich game last time out. To know that we can play against one of the top category one teams in the country and come away with a 3-0 win, with a fairly young side, is really pleasing.”
You can purchase tickets on the gate for Thursday nights game at the following prices. The Marsh Kia away end will also be open for supporters to use.
Tickets for the match at St James Park are priced as follows:
- Adults: £5
- Seniors: £4
- Under-18s: £2
Up next at St James Park:
City take on Oldham Athletic on Saturday, April 27 in a 3pm kick-off. Ticket prices are cheaper in advance. Click here to buy online.