Exeter City’s Under-18s continued their road to peak condition for the start of the 2023/2024 competitive season with another hard-working week on and off the pitch.
Following their friendly match with Burton Albion, the Grecian youngsters enjoyed two days break, before reporting back on Tuesday for a day trip out to Polzeath beach. Aimed at being a light recovery day for the players, courtesy of the crashing waves, things ended up being more strenuous than planned, however, with the session led by one of the City staff members, it proved to be a productive outing.
ECFC U18s Lead Coach, Tom Donati, outlined the benefits of the trip to Cornwall.
“It was good socially as it was nice for the boys to get together. The distance we travelled, and the time spent together meant it was a decent exercise.”
Donati then continued to share what the rest of the week looked like for his squad.
“We then trained Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Slowly but surely things are ramping up for the boys. We have a young group, but the players have been training at a good intensity. They have put in some good work this week, and we have managed to work on a few concepts which is also pleasing.”
Originally, the Devonians were meant to face Bristol City on Saturday for another exhibition game, however, with the contest cancelled, Donati’s squad ended up playing an in-house match which allowed his players to continue with their preparations for the impending start to the Youth Alliance South West Division.
Donati explained how Saturday played out.
“Despite the Bristol City game not taking place, it actually worked out quite nicely as we played an in-house game which meant we could work on some tactical concepts, probably a bit more than if we did play an opposition, so it was quite positive really.”
Donati then went on to explain how he thinks his players are getting on now that they are over a fortnight into their pre-season regime.
“It is always a slow process, and it is the first time, for many of the boys, that they have experienced a full-time training programme. We are starting to bed in the concepts we want. Quite a few of the group have been at the Academy for a number of years now, but they’re coming into an environment rather fresh, with new coaches, new systems and new ideas.
“We’ll be training hard again this week before we play Crystal Palace away next Saturday. That should be a good day out. It is a long journey for us, against a Category 1 Academy, who possess a strong age group so it should be a really good test for us. It will be really interesting to see how the boys deal with what we end up facing.
“Crystal Palace are known for their strong Academy, and they have produced some good talent in the past. I think they are on an upward trajectory once again with their excellent new facilities. It will be a lengthy trip to South East London, so we aren’t sure how long that will take us, but it will be good for the boys to be together, and we will try and do our best when we get there.”