Neil Ross pre-Billingham: “Attitudes have been brilliant”

Neil Ross praised the “hard work” and “togetherness” of the U19s squad as they follow the FA Youth Cup victory with their opening league match vs Billingham Synthonia on Wednesday.

The U19s won all three pre-season friendlies and those eligible for the U18s FA Youth Cup continued the run last Wednesday, beating Brighouse 4-2.

Ross confirmed changes for tomorrow’s match, however, coinciding with the shift from the U18s Youth Cup fixture to the U19s league match.

“It’s the hard work they’ve put in through pre-season,” explained Ross. “Attitudes have been brilliant, they’ve all worked hard.

“And the togetherness of the group, not just as a squad but the whole group, first-years and second-years, they’ve all gelled and it’s a credit to themselves. They’ve got their heads down and listening and developing in such a short time”.

“There’s u19s available for the game tomorrow so we’ll be utilising them.

“We obviously need to take into consideration the age range of the players we can pick from and the level that some of the third years are now playing and that some of the second years are now playing – in the 21s and 23s – and they need to take that experience from that into these games now and help the younger lads.

“It’s a learning curve for the players [U18s], it’s a first time they’ve played at youth alliance level so if there not involved then they’ll still be at the game and look at players in their position and see what they need to do to get into the squad. We have to look at it – the youth alliance is the next step up for the level”.

Ross is expecting a well-organised team when Billingham visit despite having both fixtures postponed against the North East team last season due to the Covid-19 enforced suspension of the league.

“We know the teams from the North East are generally quite organised, structured in what they do. We know they’re going to want to get down and play.

“But like I always say, it’s not about who we’re playing, it’s about our team and if we go out with the right attitude and take on board everything we’ve worked on in training and put it in a game situation then we’ve got a really good chance”.