Fleetwood Town Under 18s coach Simon Wiles spoke ahead of his teams trip to face Walsall in the Second Round of the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night.
The Cod Army travel to The Banks’s Stadium, fresh from winning 5-0 against FC Halifax Town in the First Round at Highbury.
Town are six wins from six in the Youth Alliance League after an impressive 2-0 victory over Oldham Athletic at the weekend, but Wiles knows his side have to turn up and play the match, not the occasion on Tuesday night.
See below the key quotes from Wiles’ pre-Walsall interview:
On the threats Walsall pose…
“We haven’t played Walsall this season, but from the games we played last year, we know what they are about. They have had a good start in the league and the players know it will be a difficult game and know they will need to match what they do, but also be better in all areas.
“A lot of our match preparation is on us, but we do need to be aware of what the opposition will bring. It will be tough as I said, however it is one the lads are all looking forward to and with the place we are in at the minute with our moment, they all know what’s at the end of this match if they can win.”
On his side playing the game, not the occasion…
“Playing at a new ground is part of this team’s development, and it is another reason why we really want to kick on in this competition. The experience of playing at different stadiums is something we want to keep doing and if they are called up by the first team, they know what to expect.
“It’s about exposure to certain situations and I know I mentioned it after the Halifax, it’s about playing the game and not the occasion, and just playing their football and showing what they can do – Tuesday will be another opportunity for the lads to show that.
“The focus is showing up and picking up the result and getting the job done.”
On the Under 18s recent form…
“The win against Oldham was important, especially after the Youth Cup win over Halifax because all showed focus to want to build on the victory in midweek. It’s always a tough one against Oldham, but the players moved the ball well, they pressed high and the things we’ve been working on were shown out on the pitch.
“We have a great squad and as coaches we call it healthy competition. We recognise that the first year scholars are watching the second years, but when they do get their opportunities, they need to go and take it and that’s the message I gave the lads.
“Everybody knew the game against Walsall was around the corner, so we used that to make the lads stake a claim to be part of the plans for Tuesday and those who did start really did perform so that’s perfect for us!”