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Preview: Nicky Butt’s U23’s out to impress against Sunderland?

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Leigh Sports Village, Leigh

Premier League 2

Monday 21st November 2016, KO 19:00 [Live on MUTV]

Manchester United U23’s entertain Sunderland in the Premier League 2 at Leigh Sports Village on Monday night, the first match after Warren Joyce left the club to manager Wigan Athletic. United last played just over three weeks ago with a 1-1 draw away to Tottenham Hotspur, which saw United’s U23’s fifth-placed in the Premier League 2, seven points adrift of leaders Manchester City. United have their problems this season, which seems to stem from the fact they have no main striker, with James Wilson leaving on season-long loan, only to return injured and out for the remainder of the season, Will Keane sold to Hull City and James Weir left for the same club. It has left United a little short of players at this level and no first team players filling in the void, which is understandable. United will need to find a resolution to sort out the problems, or there is a chance they will not even be able to retain their title this season, which has been the case for the past two seasons.

Nicky Butt, United’s head of Academy will stand in for the U23’s on match days, leading them whilst the club are looking for a successor to Joyce and Tommy Martin will guide the players through training during the rest of the week, which is something that will have to work for the foreseeable future. In January though, United do need to be looking for players to strengthen the U23 squad, whether that is promoting from the youth ranks, or bringing players to the club during the transfer window, there does need to be a solution. The U18’s are firing on all cylinders this season, drawing 3-3 with Liverpool away from home at the weekend, which is a good result after losing 2-1 at home to the same club earlier this season. The likes of Callum Gribbin, who has recently returned from injury for the U18’s could be a solution for the U23’s, who are looking for some creativity in the squad, as well as an outlet to score goals, which seems to be the main problem.

Manchester United U23 Squad:

Manager: Nicky Butt

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone, Kieran O’Hara

Defenders: Matthew Olosunde, Axel Tuanzebe, Ro-Shaun Williams, Regan Poole, Charlie Scott, Sadiq El Fitouri, Joe Riley

Midfielders: Scott McTominay, Tosin Kehinde, Josh Harrop, Sean Goss, Devonte Redmond, Matty Willock

Forwards: Demitri Mitchell, Josh Doughty

Sunderland U23 Squad:

Manager: Andy Welsh

Goalkeepers: James Talbot, Max Stryjek

Defenders: Dan Casey, Denver Hume, George Brady, Josh Robson, Michael Ledger, Tom Beadling, Tom Robson

Midfielders: Dan Pybus, Dan Wright, Ethan Robson, George Honeyman, Jordan Blinco, Luke Molyneux

Forwards: Andrew Nelson, Carl Lawson, Jean Yves Poame, Rees Greenwood

Manchester United U23 Top Scorers:

2 – Josh Harrop, Scott McTominay, 1 – Own Goal, Demetri Mitchell, Matthew Olosunde, Joe Riley, RoShaun Williams, Matty Willock

Sunderland U23 Top Scorers:

4 – George Honeyman, 2 – Ellion Embleton, Josh Maja, 1 – Joel Asoro, Tom Beadling, George Brady, Rees Greenwood, Donald Love, Ethan Robson, Daniel Wright

Manchester United U23 Form:- DWDLW

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 D, Arsenal 1-0 W, Liverpool 1-1 D, Everton 2-0 L, Derby County 3-2 W

Sunderland U23 Form:- WWLDD

Benfica 1-0 W, Blackburn Rovers 1-0 W, Arsenal 4-0 L, Reading 1-1 D, Derby County 2-2 D

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 1-0 Sunderland

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