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Hat-trick hero Jack excited about ‘big few weeks ahead’ for Blues Under-18s

Jack Concannon.

Blues face Chelsea in the Semi-Final first leg at St. Andrew’s on Wednesday, 4 April (7pm), with admission just £1.

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Jack Concannon says Blues Under-18s are steeling themselves for a defining period of the season.

The youngsters have won four straight league games in PDL2 North to move to withing striking distance of the top – which has come off the back of reaching the FA Youth Cup Semi-Final after a 3-1 Quarter-Final victory at Norwich City.

Blues face Chelsea in the Semi-Final first leg at St. Andrew’s on Wednesday, 4 April (7pm), with admission just £1.

Concannon, who smashed a hat-trick in Saturday’s 6-2 drubbing of Colchester United at Wast Hills, said: “We have a chance to win the league and get in the play-offs. And we have also got the FA Youth Cup.

“The play-offs would be a massive thing. To try and win the league, over North and South – both divisions – would be great.

“We know Chelsea are a great side but you never know on the night. We could cause an upset.

“It’s a big few weeks ahead for us and we’re all looking forward to it.”

The midfielder says the visit of Chelsea a week on Wednesday promises to be quite an occasion.

“Everyone is buzzing for it. It will be a massive night. Hopefully we will get a few fans down to support us.

“To play in front of a bigger crowd than usual will be a great occasion for all of us.

“We are the underdogs in the tie, we can play with freedom. They are expected to beat us.

“So if we can play our normal football I don’t think we’re going to be too inferior to them – you never know, we could come away with a very good result.”

Blues have dictated with their possession-based football throughout the FA Youth Cup run.

Concannon noted: “Every game we have played we have probably out-played the opposition.

“Against Bury there was a sticky part, but the team defended well, we cleared our lines and then we regained after the third goal, through Ben McLean, and shut the tie down after that – it was a good team performance.”

Concannon, who is from near Stourbridge, has been in the youth programme since pre-Academy, aged seven.
He has been offered a third year Scholarship for next season.

His treble against the Us was the first he can remember since his formative years.

“Probably when I was Under-9s or Under-10s I might have popped up with a few, but not recently when I’ve come through the age groups.

“I’d say goalscoring is something I have improved upon. I have turned more into a goalscoring midfielder.

“It was one of the things I was given last season to work on, to add more goals to my game. I think I have done that, it has helped me to chip in and helped the team to win games.”

“I think I have had a good season,” he reflected. “In the league I have played pretty much every game. I have scored 13 goals now in the league. That has been a big plus for me.”

And what of the future?

“I have been given another extension, a third year Scholarship. So it is going to be a big year for me.

“Physically I am not as developed as some of the boys in my age group. So next year it will be about focusing a lot more on gym, but hopefully I can try and break my way into the 23s squad. And even if I could train a couple of times with the First Team squad that would be brilliant.

“I’m positive about next year, I’m positive that I can push on.”

And the 18-year-old is enthused, like his peers, about Garry Monk’s arrival, a manager who cares about Academy products and is not afraid to pick them.

“It’s been brilliant to see,” said the former Hagley Catholic High School pupil.

“Some of the 23s are going up and training with the First Team. Wes Harding had a start.

“You hope that opportunity is there when you come through the ranks, so it keeps you going.”

Back to the 18s, and the current crop have recently been getting results and performing impressively despite the team changing regularly, with more first year Scholars getting a look as other players have been on Under-23s duty, as well as schoolboys.

The way they are tightly-knit helps that process.

Blues currently sit joint second in PDL2 North with three other teams on points, just one win off leaders Bolton Wanderers.

“All the scholars and even the schoolboys coming up, we are a team,” said Concannon.

“Anyone who is involved we look after them, we bring them into the group, we help them through the game and all that. It’s easy for any player to fit in.”

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