Under-23s coach Dan Green is preparing for another tough test on Tuesday night when his youngsters take on Doncaster Rovers in the Premier League Cup.
The Grecians got their campaign off to a winning start when they beat Aston Villa at home in October but haven’t featured since then with their game away at Portsmouth getting called off.
Since then, Doncaster have won back-to-back fixtures to leapfrog the Grecians in the Group D standings and therefore Dan is expecting a tough game ahead of them at St James Park.
“Doncaster have had a couple of really good results in the group stage so it will be another good test,” he said. “I think they will be a strong team. I think we have probably seen two different sides to them.
"Against Portsmouth in their first game they had a lot of quality and, probably, should have won the game more than 1-0 and then against Villa, last time out, they had 10-men for over 40 minutes of the game, so to come out and to have won that game they showed a lot of resilience as well.
“So, they (Doncaster) are going to be strong, but probably the biggest thing that I have learnt in this competition is that teams can be so different home and away and week to week, depending on where players are at. So, you have really got to try and concentrate as much as you can on where your team is at.”
City’s youngsters are certainly performing well at the minute. A number of them have impressed in the first team recently and Dan says that is a testament to the minutes they have had in this competition, not just this season, but in previous campaigns.
“There is a lot of players who have come through these types of fixtures and I think they are important because they get you used to playing in a stadium, they get you used to playing in front of the fans and they get you used to playing against quality opposition,” he said. “So, alongside the loans that a lot of them are going through at the moment, these games are a crucial part of their development.
“You look at Ben (Seymour) setting up the goal the other night (against Cambridge) in front of a stadium, and that is a fantastic feeling, and Deano (Dean Moxey) even alluded to it on Saturday when he scored in front of our fans at Crawley. It is a great feeling so if the boys can get a result and put in a performance in front of their fans, especially their friends and family as well, it is a really good feeling for them.”
Asked how much pride he takes from seeing the youngsters perform well on the first-time stage, Dan added: “I get a huge amount of pride, but only because I have seen how hard they have worked for it. You see it day-to-day out here, you see it in their loan moves. They do a lot of work that the fans might not always see but that adds up to the product they get to see when or if they get the opportunity. It is all about the opportunity that Matt gives them and he is fantastic with that, but it is also as much about the preparation they put in to be ready for that opportunity.”
You can get into the game on Tuesday night, with kick-off at 7pm, for £5 or less. Come and support the youngsters and help cheer them on to victory!
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