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08 November 2019 Venue Leyland County Ground Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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Match Previews

PL Cup preview: Rovers Under-23s v Middlesbrough Under-23s

Brereton, Samuel, Chapman and Davenport are all expected to play a part against Boro

8 November 2019

Rovers Under-23s return to action this evening when we host Middlesbrough Under-23s at Leyland in game two of the Premier League Cup.

Rovers and Boro are joined in Group G by Burnley and Crystal Palace, with the top two advancing to the knockout phase of the competition.

Billy Barr's side made the perfect start in the competition with victory at Crystal Palace last month, coming back from a goal down to defeat The Eagles 3-1 at Dulwich Hamlet.

Last season, Rovers reached the quarter-finals before bowing out to eventual winners Everton at Goodison Park. 

Joe Rankin-Costello bagged a brace against Palace and he is expected to be part of a strong side when Middlesbrough come to town tonight.

Speaking at yesterday's press conference, manager Tony Mowbray confirmed that a couple of senior strikers are also set to play a part, as they bid to boost their match fitness.

“(Ben) Brereton and (Dominic) Samuel are likely to play an hour, then we’ll try and get them 90 minutes against Hertha Berlin a week later," said the Rovers boss.

“I think there are a couple who are pretty close to returning from injury. They’ll play a fair chunk of the game before playing again next Friday at Ewood against Hertha.

“If they can get 90 minutes in that game then they are back in contention for the first team squad selection.

“That will give us more options, more choices of players in form. In a couple of weeks time we’ll have some big decisions to make on who makes the team and who misses out.

“(Harry) Chapman is back available following concussion last week and is going to be in the squad."

Tonight's opponents have been flying high in Premier League 2 Division 2, sitting in fourth place in the table after 10 games played.

The Teessiders' first Premier League Cup game against Burnley Under-23s ended in a 1-1 draw, with Boro currently third in Group G.

A win will put Rovers in a commanding position at the top of the table as Barr's side aim to continue their 100% start in the competition.

Kick-off at the Lancashire FA HQ is at 7pm, with the game free of charge for Rovers season ticket holders, otherwise admission prices are £3 for adults and £1 for concessions.

We will have full match updates via our social media channels.

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Match Reports

PL Cup report: Rovers Under-23s 3-1 Middlesbrough U23s

Rovers come back from a goal down to earn victory in game two of the Premier League Cup

8 November 2019

Rovers came back from a goal down to earn a second successive 3-1 Premier League Cup win and keep their 100% record in the competition.

Second half strikes from Dan Butterworth, Joe Rankin-Costello and Jack Vale earned the win against a resolute Middlesbrough side who took an early lead through Joseph Gibson.

Whilst the first half wasn't the most flowing display, the second half improvement and three goals in the final 15 minutes ensured that it was a satisfying night's work for the Rovers youngsters.

Further positives will have been minutes in the tank for front pair Ben Brereton and Dominic Samuel, who appeared for 60 minutes each on their comeback from injury.

The visitors started the better in the Leyland chill, with Joe Hilton producing a strong block to deny Gibson from close range after only seven minutes played.

But with his next chance Gibson made no mistake and put Boro 1-0 up. Good play saw Isaiah Jones race clear before showing great awareness to set up the winger to calmly slot beyond Hilton and into the back of the net from just eight yards out.

Rovers went in search of a quick response, with Samuel coming closest to equalising in a lacklustre first half from Barr's boys.

The second half began just as the first half did, with Middlesbrough having an early opportunity. This time it was through Stephen Wearne, but the teenager's effort flew just beyond Hilton's left-hand post.

Rankin-Costello attempted to get Rovers back on level terms just moments later, but his goalbound attempt was turned around the post by Zach Hemming.

Soon after and Hayden Hackney thumped past the post as the game began stretched as Boro looked for a second whilst Rovers pushed for their own opening goal of the evening.

The hour mark saw the returning Brereton replaced by Isaac Whitehall, whilst Samuel was sacrificed to allow Welsh Under-21 international Vale to enter the action.

The Teessiders continued to venture forward, with skipper Patrick Reading unleashing a drive that flew just wide on 66 minutes.

Rovers did get the equaliser soon after, and it came with a bit of fortune as Butterworth bagged his fourth goal in as many games. His shot from distance took the slightest of deflections before beating Hemming and finishing in the back of the net.

And things got better just minutes later as Rankin-Costello rose highest to nod a pinpoint delivery from Stefan Mols into the bottom right-hand corner.

Rankin-Costello was involved again just a minute before full time to ensure Rovers' victory. His effort deflected kindly into the path of Vale who made no mistake to make the game safe and continue the team's 100% Premier League Cup record.

Rovers keep their place at the top of Group G, with Burnley the visitors in the next game of the competition on Friday 29th November, kick-off 1pm at Ewood Park.

Rovers Under-23s: Hilton, Rankin-Costello, Sobowale, Barnes, Thompson, Mols (c), Davenport, Butterworth, Chapman (Paton, 73), Brereton (Whitehall, 60), Samuel (Vale, 60).

Unused substitutes: Eastham, Carter.

Goals: Butterworth, 76, Rankin-Costello, 84, Vale, 89.

Booked: Thompson, 81.

Middlesbrough Under-23s: Hemming, Spence, Reading (c), Wood, Dale, Hackney, Jones (Dodds, 75), Wearne, Burrell, Malley (Folarin, 90), Gibson.

Unused substitutes: Robinson, Hood, Flatters.

Goal: Gibson, 12.

Booked: Wood, 90, Wearne, 90.

Referee: Joseph Johnson.

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