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Reading FC Under-18 Side Fight For Premier League Title And European Qualification

Heading into the business end of the season will see Reading's academy tackle the top seven youth sides in the country for the ultimate honour of Under-18 Premier League champions.

David Ramos/Getty Images

It's been guaranteed for some time but today the fixtures were confirmed for Reading Under-18's 'merit' phase of their league campaign. Having qualified as the second-placed side in the South Division, the academy will face off with the top four of the North Division and their fellow southern qualifiers.

Making the final league phase is a big step for Reading, who agonisingly missed out on the chance to battle for the league in the last two seasons, falling one place behind the final qualifying spot on both occasions. The accomplishment also comes after being narrowly defeated in the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals by Chelsea, who won the South Division and are the UEFA Youth League holders.

In fact, the biggest U18 European competition could soon feature Reading, who will qualify if they lift the Premier League. The tournament contains the top 64 youth sides from across Europe, with England submitting the domestic competition victor as well as the youth teams of the senior Premier League's top four.

The final phase fixtures are as follows:

Everton - March 5 - Home
Manchester City - March 12 - H
Liverpool - March 19 - Away
Chelsea - April 2 - A
Blackburn Rovers - April 9 - H
West Ham United - April 16 - A
Fulham - April 30 - H

Matches to be played on Saturdays at 11:00, all which take place behind-closed-doors at club's training facilities.