Beale pleased with progression

Richard Beale
Senior Professional Development Coach Richard Beale.

I was really pleased that the lads played well. We showed a lot of energy – they got their rewards for their work rate and desire.

Richard Beale

Under-23s Coach Richard Beale praised his side after a comprehensive defeat of Bolton Wanderers.

The visitors to Wast Hills on Thursday afternoon top the PDL2.

But Blues swept them aside 3-0, with goals by Jack Storer, Jorge Akers and Corey O’Keeffe.

It was a welcome return to form for the Development Squad, who had lost narrowly in successive St. Andrew’s fixtures against Nottingham Forest and Charlton Athletic.

Beale said: “In those games we didn’t take our chances. We did against Bolton.

“We went from not finishing open goals to scoring worldies out there.

“I was really pleased that the lads played well. We showed a lot of energy – at this stage of the season there are a lot of tired legs – and they got their rewards for their work rate and desire.

“That’s what we demand from them.”

Akers is a trialist, from Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

Latvia Under-19 goalkeeper Rihards Matrevics, who is with West Ham United, also played, whilst trialist from the FAB Academy Francis Amartey against featured.

That’s often the way at this time of the season when the Under-23s are a mix of trialists, Under-18s being pushed up and also players who know they are being released at the campaign’s end, like Storer and Matthew Timms, who came on.

When you throw in injuries as well to the likes of Odin Bailey, Olly McCoy and factor the Under-18s schedule, selecting the side can often be problematic.

Beale said it is what it is: “The way we run it here is purely to create players for the First Team.

“So results can suffer. They will be varied from time to time. But you have to swallow that as a coach as someone who always wants to win, as do the players.

“You try and piece together your teams as well as you can and play as hard as you can to your principles you want to coach.

“The Manager has come in and he has laid down some clear guidelines what he wants to run throughout the Club and we try and implement those in our games as best we can, so the players can smoothly slot into the First Team if they do well and get the opportunity to do that.”

Ryan Stirk, who signed professional terms in November, made his competitive start for the 23s against Bolton, whilst George Baker came on for a second time.

There’s been plenty of the FA Youth Cup Semi-Finalists who have stepped up for Beale this term.

“I thought Ryan Stirk was excellent,” he commented. “He has had a good season. His year is still as a First Year Scholar.

“He slotted into his first start in the 23s very comfortably. He moved the ball well, got around the pitch and that was after playing Tuesday. It was a good shift from him.

“Several of the other lads have dipped their toe in and really impressed me.

“George Baker has done well, Josh Andrews . . . these boys are First Year Scholars or in Josh’s case a schoolboy and they are not looking out of place.

“It bodes well for those boys for the future and the more we can fast track the better for the Club and First Team – that’s what it’s all about.”

Blues Under-23s have two games remaining, both away. They travel to Crystal Palace on Monday and Sheffield United on Friday.

They are currently ninth in the PDL2 North table with nine wins, seven draws and 12 losses.