League and cup double on the radar for Blackpool youth team
Blackpool youth team boss Ciaran Donnelly says his U18 side will now turn their attention to completing a league and cup double.
The young Seasiders won the Lancashire FA Youth Cup on Tuesday following a dramatic penalty shootout victory against Bury, having drawn 2-2 in normal time.
Donnelly’s men are now just two wins away from picking up some more silverware in the form of the North West Youth Alliance league title - with his side sitting top of the table on goal difference.
“Two games to go and we know if we win the two games we win the league,” the academy manager said.
“It would be nice to win a league and cup double, I can’t remember the last time that happened at Blackpool if it ever has. So it would be brilliant.
“But the lads have got to focus and they’ve got to work on their recovery and get ready for two big games against Wrexham and Morecambe.
“We have to improve our performance and hopefully that will lead to the league championship.”
Donnelly said the cup win was just reward for the time and effort his players and staff have put in this season, adding: “We came out with the win and we’re obviously all over the moon to get a trophy, it’s great.
“There’s only three trophies to play for in a season at U18 level. All these lads have all come through the academy system where they’re not winning trophies, they’re playing to develop.
“So to come to this point and to win the first one available to us is brilliant. Now we’re hoping to cap off a good season with another one in a couple of weeks.
“I might not look like it but I’m overjoyed. I’m really pleased because we’ve put in a lot of effort with these boys.
“It took a lot of effort just to assemble this team in the first place in terms of meetings with players and their parents to convince them to sign for Blackpool.
“We’ve put together a very good team and it’s given us a lot of joy and positivity for the future. We’re now hoping they can go on and have good futures in the game, because that’s the big aim for us all.”
Blackpool’s win at Gigg Lane came after Ewan Bange and Sebastien Des Pres had scored during normal time, but Donnelly was critical of his side’s performance.
“Certainly defensively we were all over the place,” he said.
“We knew they were going to play 3-5-2 and we play 4-4-2, so each team had different problems they had to solve and they solved there's a lot better than what we did - certainly for the first 70 minutes of the game.
“I felt they ran out of steam at the end but we didn’t. But we didn’t affect them enough in midfield and they had plenty of time on the ball to spray passes about and they would have looked good on the eye for people watching.
“But we dug in there and when you’ve got players like Sebastien who can pull out a goal like that it’s terrific. So we’re overjoyed.
“We’re also pleased for Ewan, because we forget about his goal which was a terrific team goal.”