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Wiggett eyeing hometown glory ahead of Royals rumble

Written by Luke Vinton

Charlie Wiggett is aiming for Newcastle United Under-23s to secure a third successive Premier League 2 victory ahead of facing hometown club Reading on Friday night.

The young Magpies take on their Royals counterparts at the Select Car Leasing Stadium (kick-off 7pm GMT), aiming to extend their unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions. 

Wiggett, who joined the Magpies' youth set-up from Chelsea last summer, is eager for United's youngsters to start where they left off at the end of the year ahead of their first game of 2022.

The teenage centre-back told nufc.co.uk: "We did really well in the last five games of the year before Christmas, going unbeaten in those which was really good.

"It was a positive end to the year. We had a new manager in Elliott (Dickman) come in and he gave us a strong base which was important. We then went five games unbeaten and it's something we want to build on and keep going for as long as possible.

"We're looking to go into the second-half of the season just as determined, just as ready, as our main focus is to get into the play-offs and try to get promoted. The best way to do that is making sure we start strongly against Reading.

"We also want to do well in the other competitions we're in along with the league."

Newcastle's second-string, currently sitting in seventh place of Division Two, can move into the play-off spots with a victory over the Berkshire-based side.  

The league clash adds extra significance for Wiggett, who was born a stone's throw away from the Royals' home stadium, as he bids to come out on top against the club he supported from an early age.

"It's important for the team to try and win but it's also against my local team," the 19-year-old added. "I used to live about 15 minutes away from the ground.

"We deserved to beat them in our first game of the season (drawing 1-1). We were unlucky in conceding a penalty, which wasn't a penalty, and then going down to ten men. We have something to prove that we are the better team and we can definitely get three points.  

"It's a massive incentive (to move into the play-off spots). It's something we speak a lot about as a team; getting into the play-off positions and not just going in and out of them. It's about finishing second or third and staying solid, producing good performances and results week in week out."

Newcastle's Premier League 2 clash against West Bromwich Albion was postponed on Monday night due to positive Covid-19 cases within the Magpies' Academy.

Despite the lack of player availability, Wiggett admitted the difficult setback was useful to learn from in their preparations for Friday's trip to Reading.

"There's still some people out with Covid or not fully fit," he explained. "It's something that seems to be happening with everyone. You look at the first-team and it's happened with the under-23s too.

"However, (those fit) have come together in training, working on things and we're having people working in different positions.

"We've adapted which I think has brought the team closer. Once we have that versatility within us and we know once we can go full strength, it will stand us in a good place where we can succeed."

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