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Blues Under-18s seeking to bounce back

Academy Coach Steve Spooner.

The boys have got some resilience about them but they've just got to learn about managing games.

Steve Spooner

Blues youngsters take on Cardiff City at Wast Hills on Thursday in the PDL2.

They will be looking to make amends after the 4-3 defeat at Ipswich Town on Saturday.

Coach Steve Spooner commented: "I think that's the first time we’ve enjoyed a two-goal lead and the opposition have come back at us.

"We've done it - two behind against Palace and one behind against Coventry. So the boys have got some resilience about them but they've just got to learn about managing games.

"A lot of young players don't place enough values on defending and being without the ball particularly when we do dominate games with the ball.

"But they have to understand that that alone isn't enough and there are times when you've just got to close ranks, just do the simple things well, put your bodies on the line. You might be without the ball for three minutes which is a considerable amount of time in the game, so you need to work and have the physiological ability to do that but more so the psychological.

"It's the concentration and about being disciplined and being very workmanlike and structured in what you're trying to do.

"So we've done some work on the training pitch on that before we take on Cardiff.

"Ultimately, it's the players that take that on board that tend to get through. I spoke to the players about trust from coaches - he has to have players he knows he can trust. It's about making sure you are that kind of person that you might just be a six out of 10 most weeks and then you get an eight and then you're back to a six. It's about reliability and trust."

Blues' squad will be boosted by players returning from injury, revealed Spooner.

"We didn't take a big squad to Ipswich because we didn't want subs being on the bench and not getting a game, so we only took a minimum number. There are three or four of the first years coming back from injuries now, so the pot to pick from is getting bigger. It's competition, which at any level is what you want and the players have to earn that right to stay in the team."

One player who is pleasing Spooner is Northern Ireland Under-19 international Caolan Boyd-Munce.

"He got two goals at Ipswich so that's four goals in four games. He's scored some good goals as well, but he has that capability. We spoke to him about that last year, that he needs to push on and score more because he's got a great strike. Four goals in four games for a midfield player is excellent so he's on the right trajectory. He's got to maintain that standard of performance."

* Thursday's game will be live streamed via BluesTV.

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