Fleetwood Town Under 18s coach Simon Wiles spoke to press ahead of his sides FA Youth Cup third round fixture against Crystal Palace at Highbury Stadium on Friday night.
Wiles’ side - who beat Walsall 3-0 in the last round - welcome the Eagles to Highbury with the heading into it with confidence as the staff and players look to replicate the result his side managed against Premier League opposition last season.
The Under 18s faced off against then Premier League side Watford last year, after a brilliant performance in normal and added time, the Cod Army came away victorious in the penalty shootout, earning a place in the fourth round of the competition.
Here’s what he had to say:
On the fixture…
“Before our previous game against Walsall the staff knew the next opponents would be Crystal Palace, so it was a nice reward to let the lads know after that game and since then all the squad has been really looking forward to the fixture and it’s a good chance for the boys to showcase their qualities against Premier League opposition.
“In this competition, we have really worked hard to get to this round so we can play the big teams from the top division. Last year we knocked out Watford on penalties and this year we’re looking to cause another upset against a Premier League side and a category one academy.
“We like to keep things consistent in training and we always make sure everyone is involved so that individuals know when they are called upon everyone knows their job. The team spirit in our group is excellent it’s a real driving force for us to see how it can pan out on the pitch.”
On learning from the cup games…
“Our last team talk before our last cup match our message to the lads was to go out and get a reaction as we weren’t at the races the game before against Accrington where we only just won 1-0, but credit to the lads we got the response we wanted.
“The energy, the intensity levels we can bring are really, really good and we’re always learning on how to adapt our game to win in different ways and we’re eager to implement what we’ve learned on the training pitch in a hope Crystal Palace find us difficult to cope.
“Us as a coaching team, and me as the manager, are huge believers in taking each fixture as it comes, and the lads want to beat every opponent in-front of us as our mentality never changes as we’ve set ourselves high standards."