Manchester City travel to League Two side Cheltenham Town on Saturday afternoon in the FA Cup and it could be the perfect opportunity for Pep Guardiola to start Liam Delap.
The 17-year-old made his first start for the Citizens earlier in the season and marked it with a goal in the 2-1 Carabao Cup win against Bournemouth, but has been limited to just two substitute appearances since then, per Transfermarkt.
Delap has been prolific with the U23 side this season, despite being so young, as he has managed nine goals in just nine games in the Premier League 2.
His last appearance saw him notch a hat-trick in the 4-0 win against Derby County, so he is clearly in confident form, and therefore Guardiola should consider handing him a start against Cheltenham on Saturday.
Gabriel Jesus has struggled for goals this season – he has four in 15 matches in all competitions – and whilst Delap is unlikely to be a regular in the first-team in the Premier League any time soon, he certainly has an eye for goal so should be utilised whilst the Brazilian is out of form.
Sergio Aguero will also miss the trip to Whaddon Road after testing positive for the current viral outbreak, meaning Guardiola is low on striking options.
After Delap’s goal against Bournemouth, the Spanish manager was full of praise for the teenager, saying:
“He’s a different striker to what we have in terms of physicality.
“We see in training how good a finisher he is. Now he has to be calm and keep working.”
Therefore, he clearly has confidence in Delap’s ability in front of goal, and for a game in which you would expect City to create plenty of chances, he could prove to be the difference between this being a nervy and a comfortable cup tie for the Citizens, so he should unleash Delap on Saturday.