Scott Sellars on the Blues Friendly. Holland Tour & EFL Trophy
Wolves Under-23s Head Coach Scott Sellars, was delighted with his team’s performance after their 1-0 victory away at Birmingham City.
Defender Ryan Leak scored the only goal of the game after 13 minutes, as Sellars’ men continue to make good progress ahead of the new season.
Sellars said: “It was a good competitive game, our first game at Under 23 level, so it was a case of getting more minutes for everybody with all of the lads playing for the first team on Tuesday night.
“But I think we have shown again that we have got a lot of good young players.
“We had three 16-year-olds playing at times, and I was really pleased with our attitude and quality.
“I thought in the first 30 minutes we were excellent and really dominated the game, after that it became a bit more of a scrap, but we matched that as well. We showed some good character.”
Leak played a crucial part at both ends of the pitch, combining well with Captain, Regan Upton, goalkeeper Jon Flatt, Aaron Simpson, Anthony Breslin as well as second half substitutes Brandon Ball and Cameron John, in restricting the home side to few goal scoring opportunities.
“Towards the last 20 they were putting us under a bit of pressure, but the lads did what they had to do and stood up to it.” Sellars said.
“They got the blocks and good tackles in and also good communication - we did play a bit deep in the second half and encouraged them to drop it in them a little bit, but overall I felt we dealt with it very well.
“At the end we had two scholars in the back four and Ryan and Regan are just as young and it was a good challenge for them.”
The result gave a much changed Wolves side their fourth victory from six pre-season matches., following earlier wins over AFC Wulfrunians, Heather St.Johns and Hednesford Town.
Players such as Niall Ennis, Bright Enobakhare and Connor Ronan would normally be available to Sellars, but with them being selected in the friendly match at Northampton, the match with Birmingham provided others with a chance to stake a claim for a starting berth.
Opportunities that Sellars felt were taken.
He said: “It’s been really tough because we’ve lost a lot of players.
“Eight of those who played (for the first team) last night are usually the ones who play for us, but it’s great to see some of the young players come in who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity.
“Dan McKenna and Morgan Gibbs-White are both 16 and first-year scholars, and they’ve showed that they can cope at this level quite easily.
“So it’s always about pushing players on and challenging them and I think we’ve got that.”
The pre-season build-up hasn’t just incorporated trips to Midlands based teams.
The Under 23’s spent last week at a training camp including two matches in Holland, against Pec Zwolle and FC Utrecht.
Sellars’ men acquitted themselves very well in both matches securing a 2-2 draw with Pec Zwolle having been narrowly been beaten 2-1 at FC Utrecht.
The camp was very beneficial to all parties, and Sellars believes it will stand them in good stead for the new campaign.
He said: “I don’t think any training camp I’ve ever been on has not been successful.
“It’s great to get them together, to get across your values, standards and what you’re looking for during the season.
“Again we went with a very young team and had some really tough games.
“Utrecht play in the equivalent of the Championship and their 21’s aren’t playing 21’s football so that was really tough.
“But our lads came through it really well and like at Northampton on Tuesday, we’ve proved that we have got some really good players.”
Prior to the Birmingham match, Sellars’ men found out their opponents for the EFL Trophy, a competition that they and 15 other clubs with category one Academies will be competing in for the first time.
The U23’s have been drawn in a group with Chesterfield, Crewe Alexandra and Accrington Stanley, and will travel to Chesterfield on w/c 29th August, Crewe during w/c 3rd October, before a home game with Accrington Stanley at Molineux during the week commencing 7th November.
All three matches will present a stern tests to the U23’s but they are tests that Sellars’ and his squad are very much relishing.
He said: “We see it as a challenge and we want to get amongst it and challenge the players as much as we can.
“If we keep it easy then they are not going to improve, so we feel this is a forward step for developing young players.”