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Play-offs loom for Jimmy's boys

Posted on 15 April 2004  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Jimmy Neighbour is delighted that his under-17 side have been rewarded for a positive second half of their campaign with a place in the play-off quarter-finals.

After a mixed beginning to the season in which the first year Academy boys won seven of the first 16 games, losing seven, since the Christmas break they have lost just one and forced their way into second place in the section and a play-off encounter away to Leeds United.

"Yes and I am really pleased for the boys, they have worked really hard since Christmas and done very well - it is a credit to them," said Jimmy of his young charges, who travel to Leeds for the encounter on Saturday when the game was due to be played two weeks ago.

"First of all, some of the leagues weren't finished yet and one or two clubs in the play-offs were still in the FA Youth Cup. It made it a bit awkward and the games are now being played on April 17," Jimmy explained, adding that keeping the boys ticking over for an extended period might have posed a problem.

"Yes it is, after the Christmas break we went to Wimbledon for a game I hoped we'd do well in and didn't. Since then they have worked hard and got back into it, but this will be the same for the other team."

An added bonus from the under-17's run of five wins and three draws since Christmas comes with the fact that a number of schoolboy players have been blooded with many of the first year's being pushed on to Pat Holland's under-19 side.

"First of all, congratulations to the lads who got pushed on - that is our aim really, the be all and end all," insisted Jimmy. "Can we pushed them on, can they progress? One or two of them have and have done well with Pat in the under-19s.

"This gives us the chance to bring schoolboys on and we've even played some under-15s who have done really well. You don't know how they will do until they get the chance and there is not one who you could say hasn't done well. Perhaps it is a good sign for the future."

So with the youngsters having seized their early opportunity, what will be the composition of the side that takes on Leeds?

"It is a big discussion at the moment and no decision has been made on that," conceded Jimmy. "There is some leaning towards playing the strongest side that can play - all the 1st years - and some towards playing the youngsters who have come in and done well.

"We do need a strong team because Leeds are good and it will be a tough, tough game - so we'll wait and see."