Youngsters' confidence boosted by senior squad interest
Youth team boss Paul Driver believes the Town Under-18s can take confidence from new manager Nathan Jones’s interest in them as they prepare for Wednesday’s FA Youth Cup tie at Oldham Athletic.
The Hatters youngsters have been in superb form all season which has seen them win the South East section of the Youth Alliance and reach the area final of the League Cup.
And the Town Under-18s go into Wednesday’s clash at fellow category 3 academy side Oldham knowing Jones has high hopes of bringing through academy stars in the first team.
“It’s been a big boost,” said Driver, whose side have only lost once in all competitions this season. “The boys aren’t stupid. Nathan watched their session on Friday and Mick Harford spent time watching their session on Tuesday.
“It makes them feel as though people care about them. Nathan and Mick watching them is important. It not only makes them more confident but it makes them work harder.
“Frankie Musonda’s appearance as a substitute at Mansfield on Saturday shows there is a path to the first team.”
With Oldham in mind, Driver rested all of his full-time scholars for Saturday’s Youth Alliance game with Stevenage, fielding an entire side made-up of under-16s in the 1-0 defeat.
“We knew the importance of the Oldham game,” said Driver. “We feel the boys have enough match fitness in them, so we didn’t want to risk them against Stevenage.
“We’ve trained regularly as a team so that’s not a problem. Playing them at the weekend would have been counter-productive.”
On Wednesday: More from Driver on Oldham, targets and expectations.