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Pleat on play-off challenge

Posted on 14 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).

David Pleat feels our under-17 group are well equipped to cope with the challenge of overcoming Leeds United in the quarter finals of the knock-out play-off stage of the FA Premier Academy League.

The boys face the trip to the Leeds training ground on Saturday having forged their way into the play-off places by virtue of losing just one game since the Christmas break and finishing second in their section.

This was achieved with a number of schoolboys promoted to the side to cover for some of the first year's being pushed onto the under-19s and David hints that the older boys may be drafted back in to strengthen the team.

"They've done well and have had a very young team with schoolboys players featuring during their last year of school," reflected David. "It may be on Saturday that a couple of players who have moved up the ladder - like Philip Ifil and Jamie O'Hara - will play for them.

"This is quite a good group and good recruitment comes in phases. We happen to have good under-16s and under-14s, whereas last year wasn't so good with the boys we bought in.

"We have to hope that there are other Kellys, Kings, Carrs and the likes, players that have come in and done well - it shows that we have quality."

Even though the under-17s lost just the one in nine to secure the play-off spot, David insists that youth development is not all about match results - as the introduction of several Academy products into the first team this season proves.

"We know it is not about having runs and always winning games, it is about the progress of boys. That is my job as well as director of football, I see that and I like to see progress of players.

"I say unequivocally, several young players have improved this season and are better for experience of the Premiership. We can only benefit from that next year with a top quality coach in here to look after them and guide them through.

"That is the aim, it was always the aim - to steady the ship, introduce young players and I think we've done it."