Feature: Blackpool Youth Team Mid-Season Review

The youth team have made a good start to their season so far, having reached the final of the Lancashire FA Youth Cup recently

Currently fifth in the North West Youth Alliance, Ciaran Donnelly’s side can also pride themselves on the fact that they have the joint second best defensive record in the league.

Despite some injuries, the side have adapted well and promoted Under-16 players who have performed exceptionally.

“We’ve had schoolboys playing who have done really well. If you look at Rowan Roache, Ben Jacobson and Dylan Sumner who have all played, they are Under-16s and stepping into full-time football with lads who are training and playing full-time.”

After winning the opening game of the campaign with a 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic, the youth team lost their next two games including a Youth Alliance Cup tie against Wrexham.

September was a much better month for the team as they bounced back with a convincing 3-1 victory over bitter rivals Preston North End. They took that momentum with them to finish the month unbeaten with a draw against Bury and wins against Burnley and Walsall.

Defeats to Tranmere Rovers and Carlisle United pegged back Donnelly’s side who managed to recover against Shrewsbury Town as Macauley Wilson hit a hat-trick to secure a 3-1 win.

In the FA Youth Cup, Crewe Alexandra came away from Bloomfield Road with a 4-1 win in extra time, which was not a true reflection of the performance of Donnelly’s side.

The next game was the perfect way to recover for the youth team, as they trashed Morecambe 7-3. However, the Fylde Coast Derby was a much tighter affair as the sides drew 0-0 in very windy conditions at Squires Gate.

Their last league game ended in disappointment as they lost 1-0 away to Port Vale but will be looking to bounce back today against Burnley.

There is still room for improvement as Donnelly aims to finish in the higher echelons of the North West Youth Alliance League.

“I would like to win the league, but I think a top 3 or 4 finish will be acceptable for the standard of players that we have in the group,” he said.

“We’ve been excellent all season. We’ve played some good stuff and we’ve been competitive in every game. The results have shown that really and I’m really pleased with how they’re doing.”

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