Everton Under-18s v Liverpool Under-18s
Kevin Sheedy says a home mini-derby clash against Liverpool is the perfect fixture for his Under-18s team as they attempt to bounce back after two successive defeats.
The young Blues had made a brilliant start to the season, winning nine out of 10 games prior to the setbacks against Manchester United and Newcastle.
Everton are now aiming to get back on track and, despite the two recent results, can still move to the top of the table by taking maximum points against their neighbours in Tuesday’s lunchtime clash at Finch Farm.
Another incentive for Sheedy’s side is the chance to avenge a narrow 1-0 defeat suffered when the two rivals met in the corresponding fixture on the Reds’ home patch in August.
“The effort, determination and the will to win was there [against Newcastle on Saturday] but we lacked that little bit of quality in the final third,” Sheedy told evertonfc.com. “We conceded two sloppy goals and that was probably the most disappointed I’ve been all season, because we didn’t do enough in the final third to warrant the win.
“But there’s no better game than a derby after a disappointing defeat. We’ve put that game to bed and are focusing on Liverpool, which will be a really tough game.
“Liverpool have added a few players since we played them earlier in the season. We felt we were the better team on that day.
“They have some good individuals, are playing well at the moment and scoring goals. But we have got to take something from what our first-team did on Saturday because they were determined not to get beat.”
The Under-18s Premier League format underwent a restructure at the start of this season, with North and South groups replacing what was previously a complicated three-tiered system.
For Sheedy it was a welcome change, particularly after no Under-18s Merseyside derby was played during the entire 2012/13 campaign.
“It was bizarre last season that we went through the season without having a derby, which I felt was wrong,” added the 54-year-old.
“If you have a good young player who is wanting to progress, his first experience of a derby might be at Goodison Park or Anfield and that can’t be right. He needs to have the experience of playing in the mini-derbies with the Under-18s or Under-21s.”
Check evertonfc.com on Tuesday afternoon for a report and reaction from the mini-derby.