Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Match Previews

Young Dons rally ahead of the big cup tie

FA Youth Cup: Simon looks ahead to the visit of Leeds United

1 February 2023

Match Previews

Young Dons rally ahead of the big cup tie

FA Youth Cup: Simon looks ahead to the visit of Leeds United

1 February 2023

Under-18s Coach Simon Clark feels his squad have coped with frustration and reset for the challenge of Leeds again in the FA Youth Cup tonight.

We were due to meet on January 19, but a frozen pitch at the Cherry Red Records Stadium resulted in a near fortnight’s delay for the highly anticipated tie.

“I’m very proactive in saying that these things happen,” said Simon after final preparations on Tuesday. “It happened to the first team recently. Their game got postponed and it’s part and parcel of their lives as professional footballers."

IMG_2812 (2).JPG

“You prepare for something, you get yourself motivated, you get yourself emotionally and mentally ready and then it’s taken away through no fault of anybody. Then you quickly move onto the next match and the whole thing shifts on, so what do you do? We tell the lads to park it, it’s going to happen, but we have to move on to the next game.”

Some of that competitive edge resurfaced quickly on the table tennis table at our New Malden training base.

IMG_2822 (2).JPG

“They love table tennis!” said Simon. “They’re always on that and it’s a really good way for them to spend time at the football club. When you are looking to build cultures and environments you have to spend time in the building. We want them interacting and competing and table tennis is a great way to do that.”

The young Dons are second in the Youth Alliance South East table and despite a 2-0 defeat at third place Gillingham on Saturday, Simon remains very upbeat for our fourth successive home tie under the lights of Plough Lane this season.

IMG_2825 (2).JPG

“I’m really pleased,” said Simon. “We’d had a couple of wins before that, when we scored four goals on both occasions. We actually performed reasonably well; we were okay. We made a couple of errors that we got punished for, but we created chances.

“There’s no team in the world that goes through a season unbeaten, apart from Arsenal’s Invincibles! It’s what we learn from it, what we take from it, what we understand and then what we put into place.”

Having done their homework on the opposition, Simon values the support of our fans and sees them as another important factor for the tie.

IMG_2832 (2).JPG

“I think we’re prepared,” said Simon. “We do individual and group analysis, set plays, everything that there is, but they could drop in a younger player that’s flying at the moment. So there’s always those little nuances and changes that you have to adapt for, and we’re ready for that.

“I’ve got to say that the support that we’ve had for the previous three rounds has been outstanding. The lads, the staff and I adore it and long may it continue.”

You can see the full interview with Simon Clark below, via the link to our official YouTube channel.

Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match Tickets Account