Davis acknowledges lack of options ahead of Everton tie

With a limited squad of players to pick from for their final two U18 Premier League North fixtures of the season, Steve Davis is hoping his young Wolves side can use the games as a building block for the next campaign.

A lengthy injury list has impacted the second half of Wolves under-18s’ season, with Davis admitting he’s having to protect his players ahead of Saturday lunchtime’s home clash with Everton - in which Wolves are aiming to get back to winning ways after successive defeats - to avoid further lay-offs as the end of the footballing year approaches.

On what to expect from Everton

“They’re in the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup, so we know their potential. Getting that far is no fluke and they’ve beaten some great teams to get there, notably Chelsea, who they beat 2-1.

“Everton are another club who do get talent through their system and give a lot of opportunities within their squad and first-team. They’re always fit, always competitive and always organised, and then they have those individuals who can turn games.

“We expect another tough game, although we won there 3-2 earlier this season with a young team, who performed very well on the day, so we expect another tough day.

“It’s our final home game of the season at Telford, and we’ll want to be as competitive as we can be, we’ll look at how both teams have performed over the last couple of games and see if there is anything that was can learn from that we didn’t know about from the previous time we played them.”

On a growing injury list

“The team virtually picks itself at the moment because of the amount of injuries that we’ve got, so we don’t have a lot of options or choices to make, so those lads are working hard and trying to improve week in week out.

“We’ve got to work with what we’ve got squad-wise, we’ll try to be protective and wrap the players up in cotton wool because we can’t afford to lose anyone else.

“We had Chem [Campbell] drop down Saturday because he needed some game time, which was a huge help to us, and if there’s opportunities for any of the other 23s who need game time to drop down, that would be good again, but if not, we’ll go with the 13 players we have available.

“It’s another game for us to learn, develop and try to prepare ourselves for next season.”

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On focus for the final two matches

“The key is to reflect on what’s happened previously, we’ll analyse that with the players and then start to plan for the next game, which is Everton at the weekend.

“For me, it’s looking at the individuals. I’m not too concerned about the result if the performance of the player is good. That’s what we reflect on, and that’s what we’ve got to build on, rather than result.

“Yes, we want to win and we don’t want to lose – everybody wants to win because they’re elite athletes and their mindset is that they want to win every week. So, that’s important to us, but at the same time we want the players to perform, keep improving, keep working on their game and keep finding ways to become better.

“In these final two games, that’s more important to me than the results – but at the same time, I’d like us to finish the season strong and look at building on that for pre-season.”

On planning for pre-season

“We’ve tried to look at bringing the under-23s and under-18s together for pre-season and maybe doing something very close to each other and working together because of the restrictions that we might face.

“Numbers might also be restricted within both groups due to what the first-team might need for their own pre-season plans.

“We can come together and have a bigger group, look at the programme while we’re working closely together, and see which of our players will move up for next season. I don’t know yet who those players could be.”

On team bonding with new faces

“Unfortunately, with the restrictions, we don’t know where we’re going to be in July. Hopefully with the upward trend, we’ll be able to do more.

“We do know it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to go abroad, but there’s already lots of planning taken place and lots of decisions have been made, but there’s still more to come.

“We’re also looking to add new players to the squad for next season. We’ve already added one or two, but we are hopeful of getting a few more in, but you can never be too sure.

“We’re beginning to put into place a six-week pre-season schedule and have tried to get some fixtures in place. I’ve emailed lots of clubs to get games on between us, and we’re also hopeful of a week away with a training camp in the UK, which will help build the bonds with the new players added to the squad and the young players who are going to come in full-time.

“This will also help our plan of what that particular group needs, because every year is different, and allow us to look at what sorts of systems and formations we want to put in place for next season.”