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Llera: "Everything is going in the right direction."

20 February 2018

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Miguel Llera says that the youth team’s 3-0 victory at Hartlepool United last Saturday, was down to his players successfully adapting to a new style of play.

Two goals from striker Luke Rawson and one from Brandon Howard inside the first 30 minutes were enough to see off the challenge of the hosts, and secure a third straight win in the EFL Youth Alliance North East.

“I am very pleased with the job we’ve been doing,” Llera said.

“We have been taking on more, we have been working the last two/three weeks on a specific job, we’ve been starting to play a little bit differently, playing quicker and a little bit more direct.

“We have been working hard, pressing high from the beginning and putting on a lot of pressure and we’re getting the rewards from that.

“I think the kids are growing, believing more in themselves every day and the possibility of pushing on, they’re enjoying it because we’re getting good results. You can feel it in the environment, you can see the kids are looking forward to playing a game and that’s good. We’re taking really good results and everything is going in the right direction.”

Howard opened the scoring in the eighth minute, when he latched on to Zak Walker’s diagonal pass, taking a touch before placing the ball past the goalkeeper.

A right back by trade, Howard played in a more advanced position and Llera declared himself pleased with his overall performance.

“He scored a really good goal, it was a great pass from Zak, he did really well,” the Spaniard said.

“I had four or five centre backs and I had to find places for all of them and that’s the reason Brandon played on the right wing this week.

“I think that’s a position he really enjoys playing and he did well. I think the part of the process is that everybody can play everywhere and try to adapt to different positions and the team is keeping strong even if I switch a player from one position to another.”

Striker Rawson continued his superb season with two more goals, taking his tally to 18 for the campaign. His second goal in particular caught the eye, as it involved him linking up beautifully with strike partner Levi Amantchi, before calmly converting from inside the penalty area.

“It was a really good goal,” said Llera. “It was a link in play with Levi, we have been working on it in the last month, how we can link the play with the two strikers.

“We have started a new routine with the movement, because we used to play with one striker, and we’re trying to improve our understanding when we play with two strikers and I think the team are enjoying playing that way - we’re scoring more goals.”

Llera will be in the Spireites dugout tonight for the Derbyshire Senior Cup semi-final at Buxton tonight, 7.45pm.

The Town XI will be comprised mainly of academy players, though first-year professionals Ricky German, Jack Brownell and Marshall Willock are also in contention to feature. And Llera believes that the match will prove beneficial in more ways than one.

“It’s a great challenge for everybody. For the kids, for the club, for me because I think it is a good chance to be involved in the final,” he added.

“It’s a great chance for the boys to compete, because they’re involved in the youth team and in their first professional year. It is a great test for all of them because they’re going to get minutes and it’s good for youngest ones because they’re looking to compete against adults.

“It’s a good chance to show how good they can be and we’re looking forward to the game.”

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