Cass targeting strong start to Premier League Cup
Written by Luke Vinton
Defender Lewis Cass is hopeful Newcastle United Under-23s can begin their Premier League Cup campaign in winning fashion when they face Hull City on Friday night.
The young Magpies, who reached the final of last year's competition before narrowly losing to winners Everton, make the trip to East Yorkshire to take on the Tigers in their Group C tie at the East Riding County FA (kick-off 7pm BST).
After a 1-0 defeat against Swansea City in Premier League 2 on Monday night, which saw Newcastle's youngsters concede in stoppage time at St. James' Park, Cass is determined his side can return to winning ways as well as earning their maiden clean sheet of the season.
Cass told nufc.co.uk: "This competition is a one we want to perform well in, especially after reaching the final last season. Every tournament you enter, you want to try and win so if we can start positively, it should only give us momentum going into the following games.
"Against Swansea, we played for 92 minutes without conceding a goal, expecting to keep a clean sheet. We switched off in the last few minutes and gave a cheap free kick away before they scored.
"You never like conceding goals but when you do, you've only got to take a look at yourself. Hopefully, we can start the competition well, gain three points and progress from there.
"If we can keep our first clean sheet against Hull, it should also give us plenty of added confidence going into the next group of games."
Newcastle, who ply their trade in division two of Premier League 2, come up against unfamiliar opposition in Hull, who have won five of their last six league fixtures and occupy second spot in the Professional Development League.
Last term, United's youngsters secured qualification to the Premier League Cup knockout stages with a game to spare and Cass, born in North Shields, is eager his side can replicate their impressive form from the previous season.
He added: "You want to play against teams you're not familiar with playing against and see what they're about. We know that we've been playing better each week so coming into this game, we'll go in positive and try to come away with a win.
"After every game, Neil says from when he first took over against Reading (a 6-0 defeat) to where we are now, it's completely different in the way we move the ball and how we go after teams by pressing them.
"It's important to get off to a strong start. You always want to win and by a few goals. There are a few lads who want to get on the scoresheet and are a bit frustrated. We all want to start the competition well and push on in the next game and the next."