STOKE City's development squad will be hoping to build upon their impressive run of form since the turn of the year when they take on Manchester City in the Barclays U21 Premier League this evening. The Under-21s are unbeaten in 2014 and have won their last two games to lift them up to mid-table heading into tonight's fixture at Hyde FC's Ewen Fields stadium (7pm kick off).
A 1-1 draw away to Sunderland at the start of January was followed up with successive victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Middlesbrough, and has left the team within seven points of the Citizens. Patrick Vieira's side meanwhile are on a good run of their own having not dropped league points since the beginning of October.
The Citizens' 2-1 victory at Reading last time out was their tenth successive win at Under-21 level as they continue to apply the pressure on league leaders Fulham.
Stoke head coach Glyn Hodges, who will be returning to one of his former clubs for the match, hopes however that his current side can end Manchester City's run and continue their own good form. In the lead up to the game the former Wales international told stokecityfc.com that the Potters will be gunning for all three points.
"We will certainly set up to go and win the game," Hodges said. "We played them earlier in the season in the inaugural Under-21 Cup and despite exiting the competition in extra time we were reasonably pleased with the performance.
"We felt on another night we could have easily nicked the victory so we showed during that game that we can compete with them.
"With the confidence we have built up over the last three games we'll be looking forward to the game and hopefully we can keep our good run going."
Follow us on Twitter @stokecity as we hope to bring you full kick-by-kick commentary of theis evening's u21 match.
A detailed match report will be available at stokecityfc.com later this weekend.