Ben Petty

Petty: A Good Challenge Awaits At Everton In PL2

Ben Petty says Leicester City’s Development Squad are entering Friday’s Premier League 2 Division 1 clash at Everton in a positive frame of mind.
More on this story...

- Leicester City’s Development Squad make the trip to Everton on Friday 
- The Foxes have won their last two Premier League 2 Division 1 matches
- Ben Petty believes the group is heading to Southport in a good place
- The Toffees' own run of form will provide a strong challenge, he believes

The Foxes youngsters travel north for a 7pm GMT kick-off at Haig Avenue aiming to notch up a third consecutive league triumph, following wins over Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United last month.

Analysing the threats that the Toffees could pose, Petty sees similarities in the squads that will face off on Friday and also the journeys that each side have been on over the last few seasons.

While Leicester were victorious in the reverse fixture at LCFC Training Ground, winning 3-1, it was Everton who prevailed by three goals when City last visited Southport during the 2020/21 campaign.

“They’ve had a good run, similar to us,” the coach began, speaking to LCFC.com earlier this week. “They are seven games unbeaten, and they had an indifferent start like we did. They are a bit younger as well this season, so we’re expecting it to be a really tough game.

Development Squad

Maswanhise & Marcal-Madivadua Strike In West Ham Win

All the goals from the Leicester City Development Squad's dramatic Premier League 2 win over West Ham United at Rush Green.

“David Unsworth's teams are always hard to play against and obviously we need to be ready for that challenge. Playing at Southport is also a difficult one for the lads because it’s a non-league ground, they’ve got to get their head around the pitch, probably not being like it is at Seagrave.

“They are all good challenges for the young players and all things that we’re preparing for tomorrow night, so we’re really looking forward to it.”

Several Development Squad players secured loan moves away from the Club at the end of the January transfer window, looking to gain first team experience, including Kasey McAteer (Forest Green Rovers) and Josh Eppiah (Northampton Town), who will spend time in Sky Bet League 2.

Jakub Stolarczyk and Vontae Daley-Campbell are in Scotland until the end of the season, at Dunfermline and Dundee, respectively, meanwhile.

We’ve reduced the average age a little bit but that’s exciting and it gives opportunity for players.

Ben Petty LCFC.com

“It’s been a really positive last two or three weeks,” Petty continued. “And we’re buoyed by the fact that we’ve got five or six lads out on loan now, which is part of the development group process. We’re delighted and we want to try and kick on now with the group for the rest of the season.

“It reduces the size of the group, and it enables some more scholars to come into the training sessions and the group tomorrow.

"We’ve reduced the average age a little bit but that’s exciting and it gives opportunity for players. I don’t see it as a restriction, I see it as an opportunity for the younger ones to come in and stake their claim.”

The rest of the group remain in a good place and ready to tackle the next challenge, with competition for places high. Although awaiting news on the fitness of 16-year-old forward Will Alves, midfielder Khanya Leshabela has returned following his loan at Shrewsbury Town.

The 44-year-old explained: “Will Alves has took a slight knock so we’ll have to assess him. Khanya Leshabela has had a good week of training and he’s a lot fitter and stronger. It’s a healthy group and it will be difficult to pick the starting XI.”

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