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Premier Reserve League Round-Up: 24 September

24 September 2010 7,095 views No Comment Written by Ronan

Yet another new feature on GreenScene. As you already know, not every player is immediately ready to make the step up to first team football in the Premier League. It takes a while to impress your manager, and one such way of doing so is to play well for your club’s reserve side. The Premier Reserve League isn’t just washed-up Man City players surplus to requirements, but actually features some notable names each week. When players come back from injury, they often find themselves playing in the Reserve League to rebuild their fitness, and find their form. Similarly, it’s also a way of testing out younger players, or a way for dropped players to re-establish themselves. This season is already three and four games old, and it’s a good time to look at some of the fringe players for Premier League teams and assess how they’re progressing.

2010-11 PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE NORTH

BLACKBURN ROVERS

Gavin Gunning

The defender has played two out of Blackburn’s three reserve games this season, although the game against Wigan was one he’ll probably want to forget. Wigan took the lead via a deflection off Gunning (like Fabregas and Ferdinand in the Premier League at the weekend), before he made amends my heading home a Josh Morris free kick. But he was not to be redeemed, as a second bookable offence saw the 19 year-old Dubliner sent off.

Callum O’Connor

Started in defence for Blackburn in their 3 all draw with West Brom, but has only featured as a second-half substitute (against Wigan) since. O’Connor only played five reserve games last season due to injury, and the Ireland under-19 international will hope to stay fit and gain more reserve experience in the coming weeks.

Anthony O’Connor

The 17 year old defender made four reserve team appearances last season, and will be hoping to build on that number. However, there’s no rush for the young lad, as he’s already an important part of Blackburn’s Academy side. Already featured on the bench against Arsenal, and will hope to come on as a sub in future games.

BLACKPOOL

Billy Clarke

Left out of Blackpool’s 25 man Premier League squad due to injury, Clarke will be hoping to recover before season end, and perhaps get a few Reserve League Group B games under his belt. However, he may not feature at all this season due to the severity of his cruciate ligament injury.

BOLTON WANDERERS

Mark Connolly

It’s rare that a defender plays well when his team concedes five goals, but like Scunthorpe’s Eddie Nolan in the League Cup, Bolton reserve defender Mark Connolly was one of his team’s few standout players when his side lost 5-0  to Arsenal in the opening game of the season. Played in the team’s 1-1 draw against West Brom, as well as in the Manchester Senior Cup to Man Utd, who had an impressive lineup which included Gabriel Obertan and Corry Evans.

Joey O’Brien

Another victim of injuries, three-time Ireland international midfielder Joey O’Brien will be hoping that he can stay fit, impress in a few reserve matches, and return to his club’s starting eleven in the Premier League. He has yet to be capped under Giovanni Trapattoni, so will be hoping for an injury free season. Played in the disappointing loss to Arsenal

EVERTON

Seamus Coleman

Although he’s hoping to break into the first team (and has done so on a couple of occasions this season), the Reserve League is a good place for Coleman to get 90 minute matches under his belt. He started on right midfield against West Ham in his only reserve game to date this season, and created a few opportunities, as well as taking some shots himself. Hopefully Coleman will do enough to get into the first team squad every week, and won’t be appearing in any future Reserve League round-ups.

LIVERPOOL

No Irish reserve players

MANCHESTER CITY

Greg Cunningham

Along with Shay Given, Man City defender Greg Cunningham played his first senior game of the season in midweek, against West Brom in the Carling Cup. Currently, many of the City regular defenders are injured, and he will be hoping to make more appearances while they are in the physio room. Despite his first team status, Cunningham played against Man Utd in the Manchester Senior Cup for City’s Elite Development Squad (that’s what they’re calling their reserves these days).

Donal McDermott

McDermott played his first reserve game of the season against Aston Villa, and helped the side to a comfortable 2-0 victory. He also played the full 90 minutes against Arsenal in a 1-1 draw, and was unlucky not to score in an impressive performance. He’s currently a first-choice striker for the reserves, so expect him to get plenty of goals this season.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Darron Gibson

Another senior squad player who sometimes plays for the reserves, Ireland international midfielder Darron Gibson played on the opposite side against Greg Cunningham in Man Utd’s convincing Manchester Senior Cup win over their City rivals.

Robert Brady

Returning from injury, Robbie Brady was on Man Utd’s bench for the 2-0 victory over Stockport County in the MSC, a match in which senior players Wes Brown and Anderson featured. He came on as a substitute against Aston Villa in the League, but could not help the side back from a 3-0 half-time scoreline (the match ended 4-1 thanks to a hat-trick from first teamer Barry Bannan). However, his first start for the reserve side proved to be much more succesful, scoring twice in the Lancashire Cup in an emphatic 5-1 victory over Bury.

Michael Keane

With his brother (and England youth international) William Keane already in the reserve squad, Ireland under-18 defender Michael is looking to also make his mark for the reserves. His first game of the season came as a cameo appearance in the Lancashire Cup win over Bury, and he will be hoping for more time in the team’s upcoming league and cup campaigns.

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Stephen Folan

An unused substitute in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool, the Ireland underage midfielder will be hoping to build on his 7 reserve team appearances last season after making the step up from Newcastle’s Academy side. Would gain a lot from playing alongside the likes of Sol Campbell for Newcastle’s reserves.

SUNDERLAND

Andy Reid

Another Irish international and senior squad member with reserve action this season. Andy Reid played for Sunderland’s second string against both Newcastle and Wigan, creating chances from the wing that Sunderland’s strikers could not convert. Two reserve games is two too many for the creative, industrious midfielder.

WIGAN

No Irish reserve team players.

2010-11 PREMIER RESERVE LEAGUE SOUTH

ARSENAL

James Shea

Being kept out of the reserve side by Mannone, Fabianski, and Szczesny, James Shea must be sick of sitting on the bench. He’s been the backup for Arsenal’s reserve side in all three of their games, yet has seen three separate goalkeepers play ahead of him.  Bound to be given a chance sooner or later as Arsene Wegner looks for the solution to his goalkeeping troubles.

ASTON VILLA

Graham Burke

Started Aston Villa reserves’ first game of the season against Man City, but was taken off as a tactical substitution when Nathan Baker was sent off. Came on as a late substitute against Blackpool when the game was already settled.

Michael Drennan

After scoring twice for Villa’s under 18s on the Saturday, Drennan made a huge impact after coming on as a second-half substitute against Blackpool on the Monday, scoring just minutes after taking to the field. The season is already off to a great start for the Ireland under-16 striker, and he can only improve from playing alongside the likes of Steve Sidwell and Nathan Delfouneso.

Daniel Devine

An unused sub in Villa’s last game against Man Utd, he’s another player hoping for more game time with the reserves.

Derrick Williams

Started his first reserve game of the season last week against Manchester United, and the defender will be disappointed to have not marked his man better for United’s consolation goal in a 4-1 victory.

CHELSEA

Conor Clifford

When Chelsea’s League Cup lineup was announced midweek, I was delighted to see Clifford’s name on the subs bench. However, that was his clubmate England youth defender Billy Clifford. The young Ireland midfielder will have to wait a little longer to make his mark for the senior side. He is getting his chances for the reserves though, working hard against Everton in the season opener, and playing the full match in the 3-2 away win against Newcastle.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION

Steven Reid

The popular Ireland international will be hoping this season is injury-free, as he hasn’t played for his country in a couple of years due to recurring fitness problems. He’s appeared for West Brom in the Premier League this season, but showed his versatility by playing as a makeshift defender in WBA reserves’ 4-0 victory over Bolton.

WEST HAM UNITED

No Irish reserve players.

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS

Adam McCarey

The Wolves first choice reserve team goalkeeper, he’ll be disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet in either of his games so far this season. This is particularly true of the club’s Birmingham Senior Cup defeat to Stourbridge, where the Ireland under-21 keeper looked to have the ball under his control after a free kick, but let it slip from his grasp and into the net for the opening goal.

Nathan Rooney

Another of the many Irishmen in Mick McCarthy’s large squad, the Ireland under-19 midfielder has been ever-present in the reserve team this season, playing every minute of every game so far. It’s his first season since stepping up from the Academy, and he is off to a great start, showing an eye for goal, as well as being the club’s corner taker.

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Related posts:

  1. FIFA 11 Irish Premier League Player Ratings
  2. Academy Irish: Aston Villa Youth
  3. Midweek Review: September 21st and 22nd
  4. Champions League Group Stage Preview: Ireland style
  5. Sheehan and O’Connor named in League One Team of the Week

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