Our Under-23s will be aiming to transfer their early season league form into the cup on Sunday when Burnley are the visitors to Bishop Auckland (1pm).
Graeme Lee’s side currently sit fourth in PL2 after a bright start to the campaign, but they will face a test of a different kind when they come up against a Lancashire side who ply their trade in the PL Professional Development League.
“It’ll be a tough game,” said defender Nathan Wood.
“It’ll probably be more physical than the games we’ve had so far.
“Sometimes you come up against teams who are more technical than physical, but Burnley will be more direct.
“It’s likely to be a similar game to what you get in the Championship, and that will be a good test for us.”
Entertainment and goals haven’t been in short supply in recent weeks with our U23s scoring 10 goals in their last three outings. Sunderland were beaten 3-2 and Fulham 4-2 while West Ham emerged 4-3 winners in a close game at Heritage Park.
“It’s been entertaining, probably more so for the people who’ve been to watch,” said Wood.
“We’ve scored plenty, and winning is the important thing, but we need to start keeping clean sheets.”
Wood has been a regular in the U23s this season when first team duties haven’t been calling.
The England U18 international was a regular squad member during Dael Fry’s absence through injury, but with the Berwick Hills central defender now back in action, Wood’s challenge is to keep the pressure on by performing well for the U23s.
“I feel like I’m on the fringes and I’m waiting for a chance,” he added.
“I have to be consistent both here and for England, and hopefully stay injury free.
“The manager has shown he will give players the opportunity and knowing I could get that chance keeps me going. I have to make sure I’m working hard and doing my best in games and training.”
Season Card Holders are admitted free to Sunday’s PL Cup tie with general admission priced at £3.