By Karan Gadhia: Blackpool’s Under-18 side face a vital few weeks with league and cup fixtures coming thick and fast.
This weekend Ciaran Donnelly’s side travel to Bury in the second round of the Lancashire FA Youth Cup aiming to improve on the 0-0 draw they picked up at Carrington earlier in the campaign.
“When we played Bury they were a good team and despite drawing the game 0-0 they had the better of things,” Donnelly said.
“We certainly have some ideas about how we’re going to cause them more problems than we did last time to stop them from getting into their flow. We’re really looking forward to it and it’s a great challenge.”
Despite exiting the FA Youth Cup last month to Crewe, Donnelly, whose team face Port Vale, Wrexham and Burnley before a mini winter break, has been happy with the progress his young players have made this term.
“I said to the lads that overall we’re having a really good season. We can only really count a couple of occasions all season where we haven’t been good.
“We’ve been excellent all season. We’ve played some good stuff and we’ve been competitive in every game. The results have shown that really and I’m really pleased with how they’re doing.”
Donnelly has high expectations of his team and believes they are capable to finishing in the higher echelons of the North West Youth Alliance League.
“I would like to win the league but I think a top 3 or 4 finish will be acceptable for the standard of players that we have in the group,” Donnelly added.
“We’ve had schoolboys playing who have done really well. If you look at Rowan Roache, Ben Jacobson and Dylan Sumner who have all played, they are Under-16s and stepping into full time football with lads who are training and playing full time.
“So from that point of view it’s pleasing that we’re able to blood those lads and give them the experience in preparation for next season when they become Apprentices.”