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U23 season review

U23 season review

Gerry Lightfoot13 Jan - 12:02
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U23 team manager Rich Williams tells us about the season to date.

Having reviewed the first half of the season with First Team manager Dan Burnett it is the turn of U23 team manager Rich Williams to talk about how their season has progressed so far.

Where Dan was building on previous seasons with the First Team, you and your coaching team were just starting out so how has that gone?

Well, we joined at the start of preseason so we had the first couple of months getting to know the lads, assessing their abilities, and coming up with a tactical plan that would work to their strengths. Luckily due to the existing relationship I had with my assistants Dan Hart and Keith Clarke, it did not take us long to do that.

Were you surprised by the team's winning start to the season?

We were not surprised as such about the actual victories. We spent preseason playing men’s first teams and, although results were poor, I feel that we developed a style of play and a resistance to aggression during this period which held us up very well in those first games.

Why do you think the team's form dropped - were teams putting in more first teamers against us?

Well partly this - it definitely happened in a few games. I do think adding one or two first teamers is only beneficial in certain circumstances. In addition, we have had a different squad every week and this is because of the success we have had in developing some of these younger players to the point where they are receiving call ups to the First Team squad. Also, the cycle of football means the First Team have had a lot of injuries and we have had a lot of return to fitness players. This is all part and parcel of an U23 squad, it is the only role where you want your best players to move onwards and upwards to the First Team!

What are your aspirations for the rest of the season?

Just to continue working with these youngsters. We still have four players who are seventeen year olds and six who are eighteen year olds in our squad! Helping them with their ongoing development and progression to men’s First Team football is a great part of this role. The league table is great and who does not want to win the league! Of course, it would be great but the number one aim in this role is the players. Providing them with advice and action plans on how they can improve. I am constantly communicating with First Team manager Dan Burnett for his thoughts on the individuals and coming up with development plans. My assistants Dan and Keith are planning training sessions and really giving these lads the best opportunity for their development and to thrive.

Are you pleased to see players getting their chance with First Team and who do you think might be regulars in the next season or two?

It is great. It is the number one objective. The second objective is managing their expectations once it has happened. We have had a good amount of First Team call ups this season - I can think of at least ten players so far. Some more regularly than others but it still shows the belief that Lingfield have in this system. The regulars I would expect going forward would be Sam Addison, Albie Garland, Lewis Kelly, Daniel Harvey, Ashley Aderemi, and Ellis Newbold.

Thanks to Rich for sharing his thoughts and what better way to kick off the second part of the season is there other than with the excellent 4-0 win over Steyning Town last Thursday. Come along this Thursday to see them take on Redhill and hopefully repeat our win at their ground earlier in the season.

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