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"We need three points" - Flaherty excited for Crewe cup clash

Written by Luke Vinton

Stan Flaherty is hopeful Newcastle United under-21s can keep their EFL Trophy qualification hopes on track ahead of the young Magpies' Northern Section Group C trip to Crewe Alexandra.

Chris Hogg's side began their cup campaign with a 3-0 defeat at Shrewsbury Town last week and face another League One outfit in the Railwaymen at Gresty Road on Tuesday night (kick-off 7pm BST).

Flaherty, who has netted twice in three games in all competitions for United's second-string, admitted it was a difficult test against the Shrews but is aiming for United's second-string to bounce back strongly at Crewe.

"We're all looking forward to it!" the 18-year-old told nufc.co.uk. "The game against Shrewsbury didn't go well but the main thing is we have a chance to put that right and show what we can do against senior opposition.

"We need three points from the game to lead us onto the last one and then hopefully we can get through the group stage. To be playing in the competition at such a young age will definitely help me out in my career and I'm sure that will be the same for the other boys in the squad who play. 

"Technically, there isn't too much of a difference (from senior to under-23 level) but it's how they press and the physicality of them so you have to be a bit sharper on the ball. We learnt that against Shrewsbury and I don't think we were ready for the level of intensity that they brought to the game.

"After watching the opposition video, Crewe seem a decent side. They beat MK Dons 2-0 at the weekend so they're coming off the back of a good result too. It should be a tough game.

"It would be a good learning curve to play against their main starting eleven. It would give us a better experience of what League One football is like." 

Flaherty, who joined United from Arsenal in January, opened his goalscoring account for the young Magpies with an impressive brace against Burnley in Premier League 2, breaking the deadlock with a sensational long-range free-kick in a 3-1 away win.

The teenager, who primarily plays on the left flank, was delighted to register his first goals and aims to get his name on the scoresheet on a regular basis during his maiden season for United's under-23s.

"It was a very good win against Burnley and they played a type of football which was similar to Shrewsbury," Flaherty added. "We managed to handle the game well and left with the three points, which were buzzing about. 

"It was nice to get off the mark for Newcastle. It's always good to score, especially when it comes in twos and hopefully I can add more to that. Goals always make the headlines and grab people's attention so whenever I can, I'd like to score as many as possible."

"After watching the opposition video, Crewe seem a decent side. They beat MK Dons 2-0 at the weekend so they're coming off the back of a good result too. It should be a tough game."

Stan Flaherty

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