U18s Season Preview with John Anderson
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 Coventry City at Bishop Burton College (KO 12pm)
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, including a two-week training camp in Portugal, and the Scot is pleased with how his youngsters have dealt with the challenges faced during their preparations for the long season ahead.
"Pre-season has gone well," he said. "We've predominantly been working with a group that consists of first-year scholars and Under-16 players throughout pre-season.
"That's down to knock-on effect of the number Under-23s that have stepped up to the first team, which has then resulted in some of the Under-18s stepping up to the Under-23s.
"It's been really positive though. We had a good two weeks in Portugal, which I think was a bit of an eye-opener for the some of the boys doing four sessions a day for 14 days.
"It was a great environment for the lads to prepare for the season though and they worked really hard and did very well as a group. We played a couple of games whilst we were over there which were a great learning curve for the team.
"We're now on the eve of the start of the new season and we're all relishing the challenges that lie ahead.
"Everybody's goal at the start of pre-season is to get as fit as they possibly can, try and get through it without any injuries and be ready for the first game.
"Everyone is always really excited ahead of the first game of the season and it's no different this year. The lads are ready and can't wait to get going now.
"It's important to remember though that our focus is on player development at this age group. I think Jon Beale said something similar himself in an interview recently, if you finish mid-table or in the bottom half of the league but have two or three lads stepping up to the next age group, then you must be doing something right.
"The focus isn't always on results for us at this level. Yes, we want to win games. Everyone wants to win games but as an Academy, we're here to develop and push players on, although everyone involved in the Under-18s set-up will aspire to have a successful season.
"It's nice to be kicking off the campaign on home soil at Bishop Burton, especially so as we tend to play a lot of our pre-season games away. It's always nice to start at home and hopefully, a few fans can come down and get behind our young lads."