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2 April 2023



2 April 2023

Hayden Pickard reflected on our U18s’ 7-2 demolishing of Ipswich Town on Friday afternoon.

The wing-back scored our final goal of the game as our youngsters maintained their advantage at the Professional Development League summit, securing a play-off place in the process.

“Obviously it’s good to get a win,” he began. “I thought the first 10 to 15 minutes we were a bit ropey defensively, but as soon as we got the press going and got out of the blocks it was a pretty good day! It was a great win, I scored a good goal, but the only negative is that we conceded two.

“It’s always good to score. I’ve been playing centre-back recently so I haven’t had many chances to score, even at wing-back there’s less chances, so it’s really nice when I get a chance to put it in the back of the net and help the team.

“Playing in all these different positions is good for my development, I learn different parts of the game from different perspectives. It helps me read the game a lot quicker and see different passing options. As long as I can help the team then that’s what matters!”

Our U18s emphatically returned to winning ways after a slight blip, with a rare defeat at Reading followed up with a draw against Crewe Alexandra.

A convincing 3-0 triumph over Colchester United along with this emphatic 7-2 victory mark a return to the quality we’ve come to expect from our talented young side.

“The past couple of weeks it’s been a bit tense in the dressing room,” admitted Pickard. “We’ve dropped a few points which we couldn’t afford to drop with Sheffield United breathing down our necks with their games in hand. The mood has picked up with the past couple of results and now we need to look to not drop points and keep up the intensity.

“Staying unbeaten at home was always our goal from the start. It’s always going to be hard away so, although we try to be dominant when we go elsewhere, it’s a lot easier when we’re at home with the local fans; that’s where we really put our foot on the gas. We’ve told ourselves we’re not losing at home and that’s what we’ll do.

“Cardiff away is going to be a long day; we’ll be travelling in the morning, but we’re used to it now having done these early journeys a lot through the season. If we want to be top of the league and finish there, we just have to do it and be strong mentally.

“We just need to prepare for these early mornings and remember to bring our pillows!”

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