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Development Squad

Johnson aiming to get off the mark in the cup tonight

The Under-23s head to Stocksbridge Park Steels to play Sheffield United this evening

5 October 2018

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Damien Johnson is expecting a difficult test when Rovers tackle Sheffield United this evening in the Premier League Cup.

Rovers make their bow in the competition, with the first game to be played this evening at Stocksbridge Park Steels against the Blades.

Johnson's side will also tackle Everton and Doncaster Rovers, with the aim of progressing into the knockout rounds from Group B.

He has a full strength team to pick from, with only Tyler Magloire and Joe Rankin-Costello expected to miss out through injury.

And the Development Squad chief is expecting a difficult and different clash against a side who have produced the likes of Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire in recent years.

"We're playing against opposition who we haven't played against in the last two or three years. Similarly, we had never played Tottenham in the three-and-a-half years that I've been in the job, and we faced them last week," Johnson said when looking ahead to the fixture.

"These are different tests and Sheffield United will be a real challenge. We will prepare properly and from what we've seen they look a well organised side.

"They have a good academy and it'll be a tough, tough challenge for us. It'll be something different but we won't be relaxing because it is a cup game. Our lads have to be on it every single week.

"If you're not at this level or in the first team then you are punished and things become difficult. We'll be looking forward to facing Sheffield United and we'll be going to progress in the competition."

The draw consists of eight four-team groups, with each side playing the others home and away. The top two from each group progress to the last 16.

All knockout ties are one-off matches to be decided by extra-time, if level after 90 minutes, and then penalties. 

Premier League 2 teams from Category One Academies are joined by teams from Categories Two, Three and Four in the competition. 

The holders of the competition are Aston Villa, who knocked Rovers out on their way to winning the Cup last season, beating Swansea City in the Final.

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