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Ideal test

Posted on 19 May 2008  - 12:00

Alex Inglethorpe felt our Academy squad responded well to the challenges presented by facing Manchester United, Supersport United and Hibernian in a successful series of private friendlies at Spurs Lodge over the last week.

Alex Inglethorpe felt our Academy squad responded well to the challenges presented by facing Manchester United, Supersport United and Hibernian in a successful series of private friendlies at Spurs Lodge over the last week.

The lads completed a spell of three 80-minute matches in four days with a 2-0 win against Hibernian at the training ground on Saturday.

The Scottish side proved a tough nut to crack but we were always in control and eventually won it via two penalties from Ryan Mason with Jon Obika brought down on both occasions.

United got the better of us 2-1 last Wednesday with Supersport, our Academy partners from South Africa, shaking us into action by taking a 2-0 lead on Friday, this one eventually finishing in a 2-2 draw.

Supersport, meanwhile, travelled back to South Africa with three well-earned draws having completed their schedule with a 1-1 result against Hibernian on Sunday.

"It's been excellent," reflected coach Alex. "We've faced different challenges starting with United's obvious quality, Supersport with how they move the ball around and the physical challenge of Hibernian. Each game presented its own problems - some we've overcome, some not so - but overall it's been a great week.

"We've used a lot of players with the likes of Ajet Shehu, Mark Clare and Sol Asajile all featuring, players who needed game time. Dean Parrett also returned from injury on Saturday, so that's another plus."

Academy manager John McDermott added: "The attitude of the teams has been first class and the pitches were in fantastic condition, so I'd like to thank our groundstaff for that. We also appreciate that parents and fans did not turn up to what were private friendlies and respecting the principles of these friendlies."

That's not all for the Academy though.

Alex and his squad will complete their season with a trip to the 'Tournoi International de Football de Talance' in Talance, France.

This is a two-day Under-18 tournament and we are in Pool B alongside Poznan, Alcala, Lorient, Toulouse and Monaco. We play every team once in the group in 40-minute matches.

Alex added: "It's a heavy schedule over two days, potentially six or seven games and a big ask at the end of the season but the lads' approach to tournaments this seasn has been excellent."