Young point way to success
Boro’s Paul Stephenson BORO’S progressive youngsters have pointed the way forward for the club’s senior team in the Carabao Cup.
Boro’s Under-21 side won 1-0 at the Pirelli Stadium in midweek in the Checkatrade Trophy.
The late winner was a header from 16-year-old Hayden Hackney, who hails from Redcar.
Burton fielded a strong side in the game. So the outcome can have done little for the Brewers’ confidence ahead of the Carabao Cup quarter-final clash at the Riverside.
No wonder that Burton manager Nigel Clough said: “What’s slightly worrying for us going up there in December is that they’ve got 30 players better than those they had out in the Checkatrade game because Boro’s squad numbers started at 31.
“That shows the strength of the club and the Boro Academy and everything.”
Even so, it’s highly unlikely that Boro’s first-team players will be allowed to underestimate Burton on the night of the cup clash.
The Brewers have knocked out Premier League Burnley and Boro’s Championship rivals Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest on their way to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
Clough has already stressed that he is looking forward to the game and might take the opportunity to visit the stature of his father Brian in Middlesbrough’s Albert Park.
Ironically, Boro Under-21s’ win at Burton was their first Checkatrade victory at the ninth attempt.
The players were playing for pride only because Walsall and Port Vale had already progressed from the group.
However, Boro’s under-21 coach Paul Stephenson said: “The lads were absolutely buzzing and we’re really proud of them.
“But it doesn’t end there. It’s a good little run we’re on but the hard work starts now. You can never get complacent.”