U18s Season Preview
Under-18s Academy Coach John Anderson insists his young side are ready and raring to go ahead of the new season.
The Tigers get their 2017/18 campaign underway on Saturday morning when they host Cardiff City at Bishop Burton College (KO 11am)
Anderson’s side have had an eventful pre-season with plenty of tough matches to go with the hard work that has been put in on the training pitch, but the Scot has been pleased with how his youngsters have dealt with the challenges faced during their preparations for the long season ahead.
“Pre-season, on the whole, has gone well,” he said.
“It has been a bit topsy-turvy due to some of the Under-23s stepping up to the first-team, which has had a knock on effect with the Under-18s stepping up to the Under-23s.
“But, obviously that’s a good thing for the boys, a good thing for the Academy and a good thing for the Club in general. We want the boys to move up to higher levels in order to test themselves, improve and develop.
“The boys we’ve had in the Under-18 set-up throughout pre-season have worked really hard. It’s obviously a time of year that not many footballers like or enjoy - and that’s speaking from experience!
“Let’s just say I much prefer pre-season as a coach rather than a player - watching rather than taking part is definitely the way forward for me!
“In all seriousness though, it’s very much a necessary evil in order to gain the fitness needed for a long season ahead. The boys have done very well though and have done everything we’ve asked of them.
“The closer and closer we’ve got to the start of the season, the lads have become more and more excited, which is good to see.
“When you first start pre-season, the opening game of the season is the last thing on your mind, but as I say, the excitement has been building and the boys are fully focused on and looking forward to getting the season underway on Saturday.
“We know it will be tough against Cardiff. They will want to come here and - like ourselves - start the season on a positive note.
“They were tough opponents last season, and a couple of seasons ago I faced them in an Under-18s match during my time at Leeds. They were both tough and physical, but also played some good football as well.
“Whoever we come up against this season, we know that each and every one of our games will be physically demanding and that is a challenge that we will have to meet head on.
“The physical side of the game has become more prominent and with the league that we are in and the sort of style we come up against, that’s something we’re looking to be able to cope with.
“It will be a real test for us on Saturday - I’ve got no doubts about that - but it is a test that everyone in the group is relishing.”