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Preview: U20s take on Motherwell

Graeme Murty’s Swifts continue their SPFL Development League campaign tomorrow night with the short journey to Airdrie to take on Motherwell knowing a win would see them overtake Stephen Craigan’s Steelmen in table. The young Gers go into the game on the back of a good run of form, winning their last three games, and will be eager to build on that as the winter break looms.

Midfielder Liam Burt has shown that, after five goals in five games (including this phenomenal strike against Hearts in the Youth Cup) good performances in the U20s will be rewarded after making his first senior appearance of the season at the weekend against Hearts. Burt has been in fantastic form recently and, should he maintain it, he’ll find himself in contention for more first-team opportunities.

Another young midfielder who could feature against the Steelmen is 15-year-old Billy Gilmour. Gilmour made his first start for the Development side in the win over Dundee and impressed against a far more experienced Dundee side. Alongside Celtic’s Karamoko Dembele, Gilmour is considered one of Scottish football’s brightest prospects but the Auchenhowie staff may not want to throw him straight in to back-to-back starts at the highest youth level in Scotland.

After some fairly consistent shuffling in the early part of the season, the back five now appears much more settled and the quintet of Robby & Ross McCrorie, David Bates, Myles Beerman and Aidan Wilson look to have built a good understanding and have put in some impressive performances recently; Myles Beerman in particular has almost immediately made himself a key part of Murty’s plans and the young Maltese full-back looks to have been a shrewd signing by the Academy staff.

In addition to the in-form Liam Burt, centre-forward Zak Rudden has been another stand-out in, what tends to be, a young U20 side. Rudden has hit the net 8 times so far for the U20s (as well as featuring regularly for the U17s) and has done well to make the number 9 jersey his own despite some strong competition.

In contrast to Rangers’ impressive recent form, Motherwell fell to a 3-1 defeat at Falkirk in their last outing, and will be desperate to pick up three points at home.

Kick-off is at 6pm at the Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie and we’ll have live updates throughout and a full match report at full time.