During the international breaks the training ground is always a bit eerie and quiet. The first team have had a few days off, so it has only been the youth team in. It’s strange around the place but it does make it easier for us apprentices. We don’t have to worry about first team equipment; we get to eat earlier and don’t have to worry about cleaning boots.
Talking of boots, I think it’s incredibly ironic how the lads are all putting a lot more effort in to make sure their pro’s boots are cleaned and perfect as we approach Christmas. Christmas bonuses are well and truly in the forefront of our minds!
Last week it was also the draw for the 3rd round proper of the F.A Youth Cup. We have been drawn against Bristol City at home and the tie must be played before December 12th. This is the round when us and the bigger teams come in and it always causes a big buzz within the teams.
The Youth cup is a big event for us youngsters, and gets talked about right from the start of pre-season. Everyone gets excited and looks forward to it, and to find out that we will be playing at home adds that extra buzz. Last year all the youth cup games were away from home, so the 2nd years especially are looking forward to playing at Selhurst Park. Although it’s unlikely I will be starting I am still extremely excited to get out and be a part of something at Selhurst. I’ve sat in the Main Stand for years and years wishing I was out there, and now there’s an opportunity for me to do that.
We must be professional though and worry about the game when it gets closer. Before that we have got some very important games in which we will need to be fully focussed for.
It was disappointing on the weekend to have our game away at Charlton called off. Due to the heavy rain, the pitch was waterlogged and deemed unfit for us to play on. It was a shame as most of the pitch was playable; it was just sodden in certain places. The main frustration was the time they decided to call it off – 10.10am, whilst we’re ready to go in the changing room. It had been raining the previous day, non-stop over night, and all throughout the morning so the likelihood of it being on wasn’t great anyway.
Maybe the delay in calling the game off was to give the groundsmen as much time as possible to make the pitch playable, but the fact that we had to drive to Charlton’s training ground in a storm didn’t really fill me with positives!
On a personal note, the next 3 weeks will be very good for me in terms of fitness and game time. Three friendly’s have been arranged, which will be played every 7 days. It will be good to get a decent run going, as it’s hard to build up fitness when you’re playing every now and then. The first is a game at Chelsea’s training ground today, against a team from Russia. It will be a very tough game for us but I’m sure we can get what we need out of it.