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Rooney and his side ready for FA Youth Cup test

30 October 2017

Nathan Rooney says Tuesday night’s FA Youth Cup First Round match at Guiseley is just another game for his side.

Town’s Under 18s head coach was speaking ahead of the trip to West Yorkshire, where his side will face National League opposition in the First Round for the second consecutive season, after losing to Chester last year.

Rooney has highlighted before the match, the different challenges that this competition possesses for his young team.

“The Youth Cup is a test of character for the boys,” said Rooney.

“We test them daily on the pitch but it’s a mental test in the Youth Cup, so they just need to focus on winning the game and getting themselves into the next round.

“The lads are excited for tomorrow night, but they’ve got to treat it as just another game otherwise emotions will run higher than usual.

“On paper the levels are there but if they match can our work rate and endeavour it will be a proper cup tie.

“We need our lads to perfect our way of playing and if we do those things right, we should be able to get on top with our technical ability.”

Last year, a narrow defeat to Chester knocked Town out of the competition at this stage, and Rooney is hoping his side can build on Saturday’s first league win against local rivals Blackpool.

“You could see the pressure fell off the lads faces. At the end you could see not only the relief, but it looked like it could be a turning point,” he explained.

“They’ve been working very hard and the previous games had been very similar so hopefully we can take the momentum forward into Tuesday night.

“It took the lads a few days to recover from last year’s defeat and to try and get the buzz around the building again.

“The thing is this group of lads don’t give up. I think we’ve recruited that within the players and we need them to stand up and be counted come Tuesday and get the same feeling that we had on Saturday.

“We don’t want our second years to be leaving the scheme and progressing on as professionals having lost in the first round again.”

Rooney was full of praise for his goalkeeper Billy Crellin who won the Under 17s World Cup with England at the weekend.

“It’s a great achievement for Billy,” added Rooney.  

“He deserves his medal because his character is replicated in his football and let’s hope it can be a massive factor for the club to keep producing these types of people as well as players.

“We’re going to try and get him back into the squad because he’ll play a big part even just being around the team. If he can travel with us on Tuesday night, even if he doesn’t play, he will be a big factor off the pitch.”

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