Waud’s early tournament fitness doubts amended through “goals and performances” ahead of Quarter-Final

Reggie Waud’s early tournament fitness concerns have been overcome through his goal scoring form, according to his manager Neil Ross, ahead of the U23s’ Quarter-Final vs Pontefract Collieries on Wesneday, 7:45pm kick-off.

“For me in the beginning it was a big fitness thing with Reggie, he came back overweight,” began Ross. “I sat him down and said ‘look, if this isn’t sorted out, as good as you are, there’s going to be players playing in front of you.”

Waud’s nine goals in four starts have redeemed early fitness concerns which restricted him to appearances from the bench in Group B openers against Emley and i2i Orange.

“To be fair to him, he’s still got a bit of work to do but he’s knuckled down and his goals and performances have shown that.

“Reggie’s an honest guy, he’s a bit of a crazy guy but he holds his hands up when he’s not at his peak.

“Reggie will always score goals. Reggie’s a natural goal scorer, so is Louis”.

Ross told his players the line-up on Monday and is happy with the strength in depth.

“The bench, when we look at it on Wednesday night, it’s a strong bench. So, the players that are starting know, if they’re not performing then we’ve got players that can step in and take their place.

“The players on the bench know why they’re on the bench and what they need to do to get in the team and players in the team know what to do to stay in the team and if not, then they’ll get replaced and that’s how football is and they’re going to have to get used to that if they’re wanting to step up in their careers”.

Waud’s hat-trick vs i2i White in the U23s’ last-16 7-0 victory has given the team confidence in their own ability during Quarter-Final preperations according to Ross, who admitted he focused too much on the opposition during the two prior consecutive defeats.

“I went to watch the Halifax game so I had an idea on how Pontefract play and stuff so we’ve done a bit of work but, like I said before its time to focus on ourselves now and I think the players are confident going into the game so I think its important that we perform how we know we can.

“They’ve been in Monday evening, so we did some team shape.

“It’s always important that you focus on the opposition, how they play, what formation do they play, how can we counteract their formation”.

New players have been contacted for next season, explained Ross, with a maximum of three competitive matches left for the U23s, and recruitment for next season is a motivating factor for players trying to keep their place.

“We have already started now contacting other players that have been released and stuff so we’re not sleeping on the recruitment side of it so now the players know they’re fighting for their place for next season.

Opposition – Pontefract Collieries U23s.

Pontefract beat Halifax Town U23s in the last-16 stage, with Neil Ross present:

“They’re a hard-working, battling team. More direct I’d say than some of the teams we’ve played so it’s about us counteracting that. It’s all about the preparation for our lads, its vitally important, I think that they prepare right, take the right foods on board – I know the lads like eating pineapples.

The Collieries finished 3rd in Group D behind Leeds University and i2i Soccer Academy, with two wins, two defeats and one draw.