Young point way to suc­cess

Sunday Sun - - Football -

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.”

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