Under 18s coach Simon Wiles looks ahead to Fleetwood Town’s FA Youth Cup fixture against Watford and discusses his sides togetherness as they look to continue their 12 game winning run.
Town’s youngsters beat Walsall in the Second Round of the FA Youth Cup last week, and have been drawn against Premier League side Watford at Highbury.
Wiles’ side have been on a superb 12 game win streak, and face Accrington Stanley in the Youth Alliance League on Saturday at Poolfoot Farm.
Here’s what Simon Wiles had to say ahead of a busy few weeks:
On being drawn against Watford in the FA Youth Cup and the chance for other players to step up...
“We’re excited about the game! I think when the draw came through, there was a real buzz between the lads and the staff, and the fact that a Premier League side are coming to Highbury, we want to challenge ourselves against the best.
“It’s one that we are thoroughly looking forward to. We want to see if we can use our tactics against them, see how they are gonna play against us and hopefully we get the result on the night that will put us into the fourth round.
“With some of the lads being away with Northern Ireland Under 19s, there is a real opportunity for some of the players to step up and give us a good headache for who we are going to select on Saturday.
“You are looking at the likes of Lewis Patterson, who we’ve played against Oldham, then you’ve got Sam Barrett who has obviously been a regular with us at this moment. You’ve got other players in and around it that are really chomping at the bit to stake a claim in the side, and this opportunity has come around now.”
On continuing their unbeaten run and the work the players and staff put in...
“It’s the hardest part of football now trying to maintain what we’ve started so far from the start of the season. That is something that we speak to the players daily about, and we are just hoping that it goes into the next game.
“They are in a really positive place and they are going into games recognising that if we play the way we play, if we bring the same intensity that we bring to training we will have a real opportunity to get the performance that we want.
“Some of the work that goes on from the staff and the players is fantastic, and it’s a culture that we really thrive off. You look at Steve Macauley, he’s our Academy Physio but he’s a defender who has played a lot of league games and brings a lot of experience to our younger defenders.
“We’ve got Matty Urwin who works with the goalkeepers daily,and you’ve got the other support staff as well that are helping them physically and psychologically as well.
“We’ve got a good group of staff who really work with these players day in day out trying to get them better.”
On his enjoyment coaching the side...
“I’m absolutely loving it, they are a great bunch to work with. That’s something I feel as a group of staff, not just myself but as a group we enjoy working with these players day in day out. We give them a lot of responsibility and a lot of ownership to try and create the culture that we want here, at this moment in time so far so good.
“They are in a really good place and one place that we want to keep on building from. Just keep building on what we’ve done so far.
“At the start of the season, I spoke to the lads and I said how do you want to be seen as a group of players, and they came up with all the answers.
“As a group, getting the information through from the first-team, it’s about how can we make the transition from what they want to what we need to make sure there is a crossover in terms of style of play.
“The lads have really bought into that and the lads have recognised we are playing some good football.We move the ball well and get through the thirds quickly, which results in us getting our creastive players on the ball higher up the pitch.
“There is a real togetherness within the group and it’s something that we want to keep building on.”