- *An all round great performance from the team, but what aspect impressed you the most?*
It was a really pleasing performance and result, particularly as it was our first U’23s pre season friendly, against a strong Barnoldswick side. The most impressive aspect for me was the fact that this was the first time this set of players played together, due to the nature of the U’23s the team is built from some more experiences players who are regulars in the first team, as well as players as young as 16 who are just starting their development with us at the club. So the performance and effort levels that the players put in, and how well they adapted to playing with each other just shows the results of the hard work the club has put in to build its DNA and structure. Hopefully we can continue in the right direction.
- *What do you want to see from the team in the next two friendlies?*
First and foremost the same effort and application that was showed tonight. We will use these friendlies to try a few different things, we experimented with a couple of different formations tonight which exposed the players to different positions which was interesting for us to see. We have a large squad so its important we use these friendlies to get everyone up to speed as well as giving the players time on the pitch to gel.
- *What are the key objectives for the season ahead?*
The U’23s provides the players with a great platform to first of all get more minutes on the football pitch, but most importantly develop them into better players. As I mentioned previously, some older players may only get a year with the U’23s and some may have 6 years ahead of them, but if they come out the end of the season better players than at the start, we have done our job. Saying that, I am an extremely competitive person and I know that all the lads are too so we will be looking to win as many games as possible, which I believe to be an important trait to develop.
- *It's obviously early days, but how are you finding the switch from playing to managing, and especially with a younger group of players?*
Good question, obviously last season I only managed to play the first 8 games before having surgery on my knee, to then be told my knee might not recover meaning I may not be able to play football again. This obviously meant last season was really tough for me, watching the lads from a distance just desperate to be on the pitch. Between me and the doctor there is still hope I may make a return to playing but when that will be who knows! I am extremely excited about taking on both my new coaching roles within the club. Being on the first team coaching staff allows me to stay within the team and contribute to their success even if it's not on the pitch. This then works nicely with my role as U'23s manager as I can use my experience to help the younger players develop in their career. It will no doubt bring its challenges throughout the season but I'm looking forward to it!