Academy coach, Dylan Kerr, has challenged his players to make it five wins on the spin, when they take on Hartlepool United at Clay Cross tomorrow, 12pm.
It’s been a successful time for the youth team of late, with four straight victories in the EFL Youth Alliance, players performing admirably for the reserves and midfielder, Joe Rowley, progressing to the first team substitutes bench.
And Kerr wants the good times to keep rolling.
He said: “That’s the challenge for them, in football the challenge is to always be successful and to keep winning. And as we’ve started this New Year on a winning run I’d like to keep it going.
“The players now have got it in their make-up that they feel the same way as I do, there’s a different attitude, and certain players are standing up and being counted. Certainly when it comes to jobs off the field rather than on it, the lads are taking more responsibility and that will transpire on to the pitch, which is a win-win for all of us.”
Tuesday’s reserve team match with Mansfield Town was another example of the feel good factor surrounding the team.
Despite losing 3-2 to a Stags side filled with senior players, the scholars acquitted themselves superbly and scored two fine goals through Charlie Wakefield and Luke Rawson.
“Although the result went against us, they did very well against what was a very experienced team,” Kerr said proudly.
“To have 10 scholars in the starting XI and four on the bench was really good for us!
“The players were really good in training yesterday, and we spoke to them about focus and that they need to be ready and motivated for the game with Hartlepool, which will be a tough game – as they all are.”
“We want the kids to go out and prove themselves in every game. It’s great for them to go and play for the reserves at the Proact every Tuesday, you can’t beat that! Luke is 15, and he scored a fine goal, which is great for his confidence and will do him no end of good.
“These are the opportunities that they have to grasp and take forward and not forget that on Saturday’s it’s back to the league where it’s hustle and bustle, kick, fight and scrap.
“It’s going to be the team that is on the front foot and winning the first and second ball, getting their head on to crosses and dealing with crosses that wins the game.”
Rawson is one of several U16 players to have signed scholarship forms for next season, and Kerr confirmed that those players will continue to play a part for the rest of the campaign.
He added: “We’ll have three involved tomorrow at some point, last week we had four.
“I would say that at the end of the month - after the second years have found out whether or not they’ll be staying - we will see more of the current U16s making the step up for the remaining four or five games.”