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Dove on Under-18s season

3 May 2013

Last weekend not only saw the first team’s season come to an end but also the Under-18s, who rounded off their year with a 5-1 friendly win over Olney Town Colts.

Mike Dove’s side finished the campaign having won 13 of their 30 games while they also enjoyed impressive Cup runs in both the FA Youth Cup and the Football League Cup, reaching the quarter-finals in the latter competition.

Memorable victories include the seven-goal thriller against Stevenage in the FL Cup, the 6-0 thrashing of Hereford United in the FA Youth Cup and the historic 3-1 win over AFC Wimbledon in their final League outing.

And in an exclusive interview with, Director of Youth Dove spoke about the challenges his side have faced in their debut season under the new EPPP ruling while also praising his youngsters for all their effort in what has been an enjoyable season for the Under-18s manager.

Dove said: “I’m very pleased with how this year has gone. We managed to provide a lot of players with opportunities to be involved in the first team and with their international sides so it’s been really positive from a youth perspective. 

“We saw professional debuts, international debuts and some really good performances for our team so, as well as it being a real learning curve for us, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

“It was new for everybody with the new category and with us playing new opponents - teams we’ve never played before. It was different, obviously, from playing the likes of Arsenal, West Ham’s and Chelsea.

“We were frustrated at times with the quality of the pitches but the weather’s not been great for anybody this year. We faced teams that were a lot more direct teams and a lot more physical and that was a challenge for us as we were quite a young side with only had three second-year players.

“Hopefully next year we’ll have a better understanding of what the teams are like and how they play. We’ll also have depth in terms of how many apprentices we’ve got as we’ve gone from having 11 to having 18.

“We should be confident going into next year having got last year under our belts and again, we’re also excited about the younger age groups, who will all be a year older next season. It’s all very promising.”

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