Youth manager Alan Moore on the away game at Port Vale
Youth boss Alan Moore spoke to us about the Port Vale result and about getting consistency from the group as they head into a tough test against unbeaten Walsall on Saturday.
“We went into the Port Vale game off the back of a frustrating week with what happened at Tranmere and Rochdale,” he said. “We’ve conceded goals in all of the games when we’ve been totally on top and dominating.
“It seems to have been a period for us where if anything could go wrong it has. The rub of the green has been against us and it’s been hard the lads to take. It can feel like it’s knocking you down when you’re playing well and getting nothing for it.
“The pleasing thing for us is that the performances have been decent. That tells us they are reacting well to the disappointments they’ve had to face. We challenge them every day to make sure the consistency is in the performances and by and large we’re getting that.
“When results go against you it does affect things, which is only natural, but we know there are little bits we can iron out to help them along.”
“We’ve had a chat with all of the second years today [Thursday] because they get to a point, as we had last year, where they start reading things into situations which just aren’t there,” he explained. “It’s a long process and they’ll have ups and downs over the course of a season. No decisions are ever made in September so we try to reassure them that they can relax and go out and enjoy the fact they’re playing football.
“The second years are up and down in terms of their emotions and it’s the ones who can handle that and perform at a consistently good level who will come out of the other side of it. We do what we can to get them ready so they are in the best place possible to give us a performance.
“They are young men and they develop at different rates. Some of them were flying in pre-season and they’ve started to drop off a little bit now. If they could get back to the levels they were at in July there would be no issues at all. The ability is in there so it’s just now dealing with the mental blocks boys of that age get, particularly with the added pressure of being a second year.
“It’s easier to tell the professionals to fear nothing, and to get out there, because this is a whole new experience for these youngsters. We deliberately test the second years to see if they can cope with the next level. They get treated slightly differently to the first years because of that. If they can cope with it at this level it shows they’ll have a better chance of moving up.”
On the visit of Walsall on Saturday, he said: “This is a good game for us to look forward to. They had a strong season last time round and they’re unbeaten again so far this season. It’ll be a good test and we’re going to make a couple of changes to give some other lads a chance to play, and we’ll look at our formation as well.”
And on the pitch time first year keeper Morgan Bacon got with a strong United side at Middlesbrough on Tuesday afternoon, he said: “Playing at Boro will have cheered him up no end. He was upset about the manner of goal he conceded against Port Vale but he apologised to the dressing room and that’s it as far as we’re concerned. He’s held his hands up and we move on. Mistakes like that are part of the learning process. To get just under ten minutes with the professionals will help him to bounce back.”
United – Bacon, Hurley, Pearson, Holt, Douglas, Robson, Taylor, Egan (McCue 65), Hall, Salkeld, Bradbury. Subs – Fowler, Groves, Brown, Breen.
Goal – Egan
Next up – United v Walsall, Saturday 19 September, kick off 12pm, Creighton Rugby Club