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28 March 2022

Following our U18s 4-2 victory against Sheffield Wednesday, wing-back Hayden Pickard voiced his feelings about the triumph and a hat-trick of assists.

Our 2021 Academy Player of the Year outlined that this win in the South Yorkshire derby is payback after suffering defeat to the Owls back in November, and that playing with Josiah Dyer is a creative player’s dream.

When we first came here, we knew we owed them one from the start of the season,” Pickard insisted. “With Josiah starting, I just knew he was always going to be in the middle of the posts, so I just did early crosses and tried setting the ball into him.”

Pickard was unable to complete the full 90 minutes, as he was replaced late in the second half through injury.

Thankfully, it doesn’t appear to be as bad as first feared, and the 16-year-old should be available for our U18s trip to Charlton Athletic this weekend.

“I don’t think it’s too bad,” he confirmed. “I’ve shielded the ball out and he has just stood on my wrist, and it’s got a bit of bruising. It’s disappointing to get an injury but, overall, it’s about the team and how the team play, and we were excellent.”

Saturday’s victory has seen the young Reds climb above our near neighbours into second place in the Professional Development League with four games remaining.

Despite this lofty position, Pickard says he and his teammates aren’t focusing on the table just yet, instead concentrating on picking up victories in the closing stages.

“We aren’t really bothered with how Wednesday play, just more bothered about we do week in, week out,” he asserted. “We had a disappointing result last week against Hull but if we play like this and we keep pushing then we all believe that we can get play-offs.”

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