The restart of grassroots football meant that our Under 21’s side managed by Joe Lally have returned to action in the shape of the North West U’21s Development League Cup.
Speaking after last weekend’s narrow 1-0 victory over Runcorn Sports in the quarter final, Lally was delighted to make the final four.
He said: “We played really well against Ramsbottom, against Runcorn we struggled to break down a team with a negative game plan, but we’ve got through and that’s what matters.
“It’s been hard for us because we’ve lost a couple of lads and brought some new in too, so we’ve had to adapt in lots of ways.
“For some of these lads it’s their last opportunity to win a trophy so it’s important we keep working hard and I’m delighted for them that we’ve reached this far.
The Under 21’s side has gone from strength to strength over the past few seasons with several players making their mark in the first team and Joe accredited this down to the clear pathway they have developed alongside Wayne and Paul.
“The plan is to keep making the team a progressive experience, so they continue to develop and become closer to the first team.
“There has to be a pathway and if we didn’t have some of the players like Lucas Weir, Joe O’Brien and DJ then we might not have attained some of the quality we have.
“They’re great examples for the rest of the lads of what you can achieve, and they all represent the club superbly.
“We’ve got better players now than we have done in previous years so we’re able to play a better style of football.
“Our job is to make sure these players are as ready as they can be for first team football whether that be here or somewhere else.
The tournament has been played behind closed doors so far as per FA regulations, however Joe hopes they will have some fans supporting them should they progress this weekend in the semi-final.
“I hope we can have some support at our games soon.
“I know the Riff Raff have not been to a game in a while so it’s an opportunity for them to go out and watch a game of football and support the lads.
“There’s about six lads here who I think can genuinely look to be a part of the first team next season and that’s great for us and for them.
“We have others who we can look to send out to North West Counties clubs on dual registration so they can gain first team experience elsewhere which will benefit everyone.
With preparations already underway for next season, Joe added he is looking forward to working with the first team next year.
“I’m finishing my UEFA B licence and Yannick who has come in from UCFB has been a massive help as well.
“Wayne has spoken to me to about helping out with the first team next season so that will be huge for me.
“Under 21’s football is not about winning development leagues or getting trophies, its great if that happens, but primarily it is about preparing players for first team football.”
The Under 21’s semi-final clash vs St. Michaels DHFC takes place this Sunday and no supporters are allowed inside the 3G area due to Covid restrictions.