United academy duo's comebacks delayed by Under-18 postponement

Manchester United’s Under-18 side got as far as naming their team to face their Blackburn Rovers counterparts today (Saturday) before the game was called off.

The situation mirrored the one in the Premier League between Burnley and Tottenham in November, when both sides named their starting 11s before the match was postponed.

On that occasion, the issue was snow, but here the problem was the heavy rain and an already waterlogged pitch.

The game was due to take place at Blackburn for fears that would be waterlogged and then moved to United too, but to no avail.

The fact that the team news came out means we know that two talented United academy starlets were in line for comebacks if the game had gone ahead.

18-year-old striker Joe Hugill was in line for a first game since the 1-0 defeat to Tottenham in October, having been sidelined since with an ankle injury.

He had five goals in 12 games this season up to that point and the teenager even joined in first team training back in July.

Hugill actually suffered the injury while training with League 2 side Forest Green Rovers, as part of United’s scheme to get some of their young players exposure to life at EFL clubs.

He joined United at the same time as Logan Pye in July 2020, with the pair arriving from Sunderland.

Pye was also in line to make a first appearance since August, and will be another who is especially frustrated that the game didn’t go ahead.

He signed his first pro contract with United in July 2021, after a first campaign at the club which was also disrupted by injury.

Hugill and Pye will hope for better luck with the weather in the near future as they look to start 2022 at full fitness, pushing ahead to have another strong year continuing their development at Old Trafford.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.