Brian Barry-Murphy’s exciting young squad will resume action after a week’s hiatus against our local rivals at the Academy Stadium in a game that will be live on CITY+ and Recast (kick-off 12pm UK).
While the local bragging rights are once again up for grabs, even more significantly for the City youngsters the game is another chance for us to press our title credentials.
PL2 champions for the past two seasons, City are currently lying in second place in the table a point behind Chelsea but with two crucial games in hand.
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For skipper Charles, the prospect of playing host to United, whom we beat 6-1 at Leigh Sports Village back in November, is one of the highlights of the season.
And he believes it’s the perfect way to return to action for City’s Under-21s as we seek to return to top spot.
“I can’t wait for the game,” said the City holding midfielder.
“I always love the derby. Last time at their place it was a good result, winning 6-1. It would be nice to do that again, but we know it will be a tough game.
“I feel like as a team we are confident going into any game just because of how well we’ve done in the past few years.
“Hopefully we can do the same thing again (between now and the end of the season).
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“Our performance at United was one of the best this season. The first half was tough, and I feel like the final scoreline maybe didn’t reflect the whole game, but we came on so strong at the end.”
Sunday’s game marks the start of the real business end of the season for Barry-Murphy’s squad as we chase what would be an unprecedented third title in a row.
And for Charles, who has been in outstanding form all campaign, City can draw comfort from the lessons of the last two campaigns which ended in silverware
“With seven games left we are full of confidence looking to the next few months,” the Northern Ireland international added.
“We have been in this position (fighting for the PL2 title) before in the past couple of years so hopefully we can do it again.
“I'd say (the mindset) is similar to the first team. Looking to the back stretch we can draw on what happened in the past couple of years.
“It’s definitely exciting.”