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Llera: "The team is showing great character."

1 November 2017

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Academy coach Miguel Llera says that both he and his squad are heading into tomorrow’s FA Youth Cup tie with Notts County at the Proact tomorrow, 7pm, full of confidence.

Llera’s side have won their last four matches including last weekend’s 3-2 victory over EFL Youth Alliance North East table-toppers Oldham Athletic.

Speaking exclusively to iFollow, Llera said: “We’re really looking forward to the game.

“We’ve been preparing for the game since Monday and the players are really excited about the chance to play in the stadium in front of the fans and the first team manager.

“We come into the game on a great run, I think that the group is growing up and they showed that the other day. Twice we were down but we came back and won the game, the team is showing great character and they’re confident.”

With the four victories enhancing the positive atmosphere around the training ground Llera is urging his players to maintain their focus and get ensure it will be them and not County who meet Port Vale in the next round.

He said: “I think for the players it’s probably the biggest game of the year – hopefully it’s not the last one. That’s why I have to keep them calm.

“In the first half on Saturday we were struggling because they were looking forward to the game tomorrow. But I’m trying to keep their feet on the floor and show them that while it’s important it’s just another game.

“We have to be consistent and show that we’re all working in the same direction as we’ve been doing in the last four games and once again show the same commitment and desire.”

So, what can supporters look to see from the youth team tomorrow?

“We try to be a really well organised team off the ball and so everyone knows what they are doing when we’re out of possession,” the Spaniard commented.

“We have really talented midfield players, but for me the first thing I saw when I came in was that I needed to organise the team from a defensive point of view so that we can let the talent flow.

“We’re a team that scores plenty of goals, but my concern was that it’s not normal that we are conceding a lot of chances, we’re just conceding two or three chances per game and one or two goals, but we score plenty and I think that it’ll nice for people to see them play in the stadium.”

The likes of Charlie Wakefield, Ify Ofoegbu and Marshall Willock are set to feature tomorrow night, along with the team’s top goal scorer Luke Rawson, the other first-year scholars and also members of the U16s.

Both Ofoegbu and Wakefield played in the two Youth Cup matches at the Proact last season and Llera believes that their experience can be passed on to their team mates.  

“To have experience in this competition is really important,” said Llera. “Everybody who’s involved is going to be focused.

“You get experience when you play games, just because you have played one or two games doesn’t mean that you don’t have any experience, so the most important thing is controlling how excited they are, we have to manage the game.”

Tomorrow night’s clash sees the Spireites take on a team from their own division, the two teams aren’t due to meet each other in the league until December 2, but Llera and his team are more than aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

He said: “We know how they play and their shape, my job is to give the players as much information as I can and that’s what we’ve been doing.

“It’s really important to show them the picture and how they’ll find tomorrow on the pitch.”

Should the match not be decided after 90 minutes, then extra time will be played. If the scores are still level at the end of extra time, there will be a penalty shoot-out to determine who goes through. 

Llera is more than aware of the permutations and as such is leaving no stone unturned, with the players having been practising penalties in training this week.

He added: “It’s important that you are prepared as in this competition you can be knocked out after one game.

“We have everything set up and everyone knows what they have to do.”

Admission to tomorrow nights match is priced at £3 adults and £1 concessions.

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