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Friday 28 September 2012

Barclays U21 Premier League: Amalfitano takes on Man Utd

West Ham and Manchester United host Norwich and Newcastle United respectively on Friday

Romain Amalfitano is in the Newcastle United U21 squad to face Manchester United

For all Barclays U21 Premier League news, results and tables click here

West Ham United will be looking to build on their impressive victory against Arsenal with another home victory this evening.

More than 700 people were at Rush Green Road to see the Hammers come from behind to overwhelm the Gunners 4-1 last Friday and Ian Hendon's side will be aiming to maintain their momentum by putting some daylight between themselves and Norwich City at the top of Barclays U21 Premier League Group 1.

"We have a lot of confidence and a winning feeling in the Development Squad"
Jordan Spence

The Canaries will be no pushovers, as they joined the Londoners at the top of the division on ten points with a win of their own against West Bromwich Albion last time out.

Jordan Spence, whose performances for Hendon's charges earned him a start for West Ham's first team against Wigan Athletic in the Capital One Cup in midweek, is in confident mood ahead of the 7pm kick-off, where adults can watch for £3, under-16s pay just £1 and season-ticket season holders get in for free.

"We have a lot of confidence and a winning feeling in the Development Squad," Spence told the club's website. "It is a culture we want to build within the football club.

"We are on top of the league and you saw confident performances against Wigan from Rob Hall and Matty Fanimo. The boys are doing really well and we want to show we are ready and capable at any point we are called upon."

Family tie

It promises to be a particularly intriguing contest for Hall, who is expected to face his cousin, Reece Hall-Johnson, at Rush Green Road.

"I hope he plays because it would be great for our family to see us competing against each other, whether that happens is up to us, we need to work hard to ensure we are in the starting line-up," Hall said.

Reading can also move on to 10 points with a home win against a Blackburn Rovers side still seeking their first win of the season. The Royals, who play at Hogwood Park at 1.30pm, are well rested after their visit to Bolton Wanderers fell victim to the weather on Monday, while Rovers will feel aggrieved at losing a match they dominated against Everton last time out.

A Manchester United first team including a number of youngsters overcame Newcastle United 2-1 in the Capital One Cup and the two sides reacquaint themselves in Barclays U21 Premier League Group 2 at Moss Lane, Altrincham FC, this evening, where adults can watch for £5, juniors and OAPs pay £2 and United members and season-ticket holders can get in free of charge. Federico Macheda and new signing Angelo Henriquez are in the hosts' squad.

Amalfitano appearance

Summer signing Romain Amalfitano has been included in the Newcastle squad, along with two other players with first-team experience, Mehdi Abeid and Adam Campbell. Curtis Good, who was in the squad for the Old Trafford encounter, also returns to the north-west, while Bradden Inman, the Australian midfielder with five goals in four appearances, will be hoping to maintain his scoring form.

With just one win from their five matches to date Chelsea will be hoping to return to winning ways in Group 3 against Middlesbrough at Brentford FC, also on Friday night.

On the plus side for Blues supporters captain George Saville is on form, having scored twice at Selhurst Park to salvage a draw against Crystal Palace on Monday, while Middlesbrough are looking to bounce back after a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday. Tickets cost £3 for adults and £1 for juniors and seniors.

Sunday's only match pits Everton against Bolton Wanderers at Finch Farm training ground. After sealing their first win of the season against Blackburn, Alan Stubbs's side will be hoping for a Lancashire double that would leapfrog them over their opponents.

Everton lift

"It has been a testing start but we will keep stressing to the lads to make the right decisions and we will see where it takes us"
Alan Stubbs

"We know it is not all about results but getting a win will give the lads a lift," Stubbs told the club's official website. "We are operating with a small group this season but you have to play with the cards you are dealt and we want to do well in this competition.

"It has been a testing start but we will keep stressing to the lads to make the right decisions and we will see where that takes us. There were a few positive signs [against Blackburn] and while the first half wasn't good enough and they got a rollicking at half-time, they ended up with a pat on the back."

On Monday, Arsenal travel to fifth-placed West Bromwich Albion with Jack Wilshere and Emmanuel Frimpong likely to make their first starts for the Gunners following long-term injuries. The Group 1 encounter kicks off at The Hawthorns at 2pm.

Villa at the Lane

Also on Monday afternoon, Group 2 leaders Southampton host a Stoke City side still seeking their first points in the competition. In the evening Sunderland meet Manchester United at Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground, while Tottenham Hotspur take on Aston Villa at White Hart Lane.

Tickets for the Spurs match are on sale and available to adults at £5 for seats in the West Lower Stand, to adult members at £3 and to junior and senior citizens at £1.

In Group 3, Liverpool host Fulham at their academy in the afternoon, while in the evening Selhurst Park again opens its doors to U21 action as Crystal Palace look to build on last week’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea against Manchester City. Tickets are priced at £5 for adults (£8 on match day) and £1 for concessions.

For all Barclays U21 Premier League news, results and tables click here

Friday, September 28th

Reading v Blackburn Rovers, Hogwood Park (1.30pm)
West Ham United v Norwich City, Rush Green Road (7pm)

Manchester United v Newcastle United Altrincham FC (7pm)

Chelsea v Middlesbrough, Brentford FC (7.05pm)

Sunday, September 30th

Everton v Bolton Wanderers, Finch Farm training ground (2.30pm)

Monday, October 1st

West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal, The Hawthorns (2pm)

Southampton v Stoke City, Staplewood training ground (2.30pm)
Sunderland v Manchester United, Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground (7pm)
Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa, White Hart Lane (7pm)*

Liverpool v Fulham, Liverpool Academy (2pm)
Crystal Palace v Manchester City, Selhurst Park (7pm)

For all the results and the latest league tables, click here

For latest news on the Barclays U21 Premier League, click here.

You can follow developments on Twitter with the Premier League's account @premierleague or via the hashtag #BU21PL

*For tickets call 0844 844 0102 and dial option 2

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Key Points

  • West Ham United meet Norwich City at Rush Green Road on Friday night
  • Manchester United host a Newcastle side including Romain Amalfitano
  • White Hart Lane opens its doors to Tottenham-Aston Villa on Monday