Often Partisan

Development Squad in Heavy Defeat to Leicester City

An inexperienced Blues u21 squad were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by their Leicester City counterparts at St Andrews today in the Professional Development League.

Table-topping Leicester played an experienced team and it showed as Paul Gallagher (2) and former Blues trialist Jacob Blyth scored in an easy win for the Foxes.

Blues gave starts to trialist striker Dominic Dell who has been recently released by the Wolves Academy along with Ryan Higgins, Charlee Adams and Reece Hales who were offered new pro contracts earlier this week.

Pablo Ibanez started the game at centre back and was immediately in the thick of things as he tangled with the Leicester City forward line. The normally placid Spaniard was riled by a perceived elbow in a challenge for a header and consequently he played in a very robust manner, jumping into challenges far harder than you’d expect normally.

It proved to be his downfall as he gave away a free kick with a particularly nasty challenge late in the first half that saw him booked and the team eventually concede a second. It was unsurprising that Pablo didn’t make the second half as clearly he was a walking red card; something that will probably do him no favours in his search for a first team place.

Reece Hales also suffered early on, going down from a challenge within 30 seconds of the start before taking a heavy blow to the knee on 15 that forced him off. With Hales off the pitch Blues struggled when going forwards as they had no presence in the front line; hopefully it won’t be a bad injury as with Asante on loan at Shrewsbury there are painfully few forward options should any of the three fit senior strikers succumb to injury.

Leicester’s first was a blockbuster from Gallagher; hit from around 30 yards out with the outside of the right boot, it flew into the net leaving rookie keeper Callum Preston rooted to the spot.

The second came from the free kick Ibanez conceded; Preston managing to keep out the initial effort from Gallagher with a fine one-handed save but the resultant corner found Richie Wellens beyond the back stick and his delicate lob back into the box found Gallagher who nodded the ball home.

The second half continued much in the same vein as the first; Blues occasionally had attacks but the Leicester backline were more than capable and they threatened the Blues goal on more than one occasion. Jack Deaman and Pablo’s replacement Graham Hutchison both had decent games making block tackles and doing their best to keep the Foxes out; Viv Solomon-Otabor did his best on the left to try to get attacks going whilst Eddy Gnahoré showed glimpses of his talent when carrying the ball.

The third goal came late on; Leicester sub Harry Panayiotou floated in a ball which Jacob Blyth met with a looping header which just dropped in behind the despairing dive of Callum Preston.

All in all it wasn’t the worst of results; Leicester named a strong squad and in comparison there weren’t just kids in the Blues team but kids I’d not seen before – even in the u18s. It’s experience for them and hopefully they’ll learn from the errors that were made and build on the positives – but it does show the gap in wealth at the moment between the two clubs. Hopefully it’s not a precursor for Friday.


Callum Preston; Ryan Higgins, Amari’i Bell, Olly Lee, Jack Deaman, Pablo Ibanez (Graham Hutchison), Charlee Adams (Demarai Gray), Eddy Gnahoré, Dominic Dell, Reece Hales (Liam Truslove), Viv Solomon-Otabor

Subs not used: Connal Trueman, Reece Brown

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9 Responses to “Development Squad in Heavy Defeat to Leicester City”

  • oldburyblue says:

    One of the joys of watching the kids play is when you DON’T know who they are and therefore don’t have pre-conceived views, positive or negative, so that when they do something good you think “who was that?” as you look at the team sheet. Though we were well beaten today there were more than enough flashes from individuals to note their names for the future.

  • Oldbluenose says:

    As you say, A tough match for the kid’s, but hopefully they will not be too downhearted after this, !!.

    Was Hutchinson, showing more promise after his loan-out to Lincoln,?. Also Dearman, has not been in the picture [ Squad ] much lately, ?.

    Much was expected from Gnanore, earlier in the season, Did he seem fully recovered from his injury, ?.

  • Mirkwood says:

    I thought Deaman had gone on loan to Cheltenham for the rest of the season.

  • oldburyblue says:

    I thought both central defenders did OK at this level, but both made basic errors which would be punished at a higher level. I think Hutchison looks more like the part and could be used in the 1st Team in an emergency without too much trouble. Gnahore stands out when on the ball and has obvious skills, but like most of players needs to toughen up so that he can use those skills.

    • Oldbluenose says:

      oldburyblue;, Thanks for your comments, mate. !!.

      I am not certain as to what is Deaman’s best playing position, ?.

      Gnarhore, I presume, is like most of the kid’s, [ even in the squad ], Need that extra year or so to ” fill-out “, !!.

  • oldburyblue says:

    I saw Deaman play as right back for some of the U21 game against Coventry but he looked much more comfortable defensively when switched to centre half in that game. What he did show flashes of though was a bit of grit and determination whenfound in a more midfield position, using his size and weight to good effect.

    Gnahore does need filling out, which will happen with time, but I think it is more about how you use that extra weight and muscle. Zigic for example has never learnt to use his size whereas someone like Koby Arthur has learnt to use his small size to his advantage already. Zigic cannot tackle without giving a foul away and because of his high centre of gravity can be easily knocked off the ball. Arthur on the other hand with his low centre of gravity appears to be able to get under body tackles and bounce like a rubber ball.

  • Tom says:

    Basically Reece Hales injury we might not ever see him again

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