Cheltenham Town: Russell Milton's Youth in Focus column
OUR annual trip to the Cheltenham Races on Tuesday proved very enjoyable and allowed all the full-time staff to have a day and evening out together – something not always possible, but nonetheless always a worthwhile social get-together.
This followed on from a Youth Alliance League game against Bristol Rovers, where a predominantly resolute defensive display in a dour game saw us go down 2-1 to an error of judgement with 10 minutes to go.
The lack of consistency in concentration can be the undoing in most youth games where players have performed very well for 90 per cent of the time but can let themselves down with something silly.
The game saw us go 1-0 up after ten minutes with a finely taken goal from Ed Williams, latching onto a through-ball to wrong-foot the keeper, and we were good value for it.
I felt we were in the Land of the Giants for the 90 minutes, with their keeper at 6ft 5in and barely anyone under 6ft, which for youth football was quite surprising.
We stuck to the game without producing much scintillating football and definitely deserved at least a draw out of it .
Despite no game today there is a busy schedule ahead, with a game on Monday and the chance to play another Japanese side at Hartpury College.
If the last game was anything to go by it will be a valuable experience for the lads.
Japanese sides are always good technically with excellent movement so our shape and discipline will be tested to the max.
We then move on to the Open Trials for 16-23-year-olds, held at the training ground on March 23 to 24 from noon till 4pm.
If you are interested and feel you may have a chance of progressing please email email@example.com.
We have felt for some time that it is important to have links with the local community and give the opportunity to people who feel they have 'missed the boat' to come and test themselves.
Myself, Jamie Victory, Antoine Thompson and Tim Bell will take the majority of the sessions, which will include warm ups, skills, possession games and tactics, shooting, defending, small sided games and 11 versus 11 too.
The second day will largely be match-based and every player will go away with a detailed evaluation of themselves and their time with us.
You never know, there may be a missed gem out there.
We then move on to Easter where six teams with some parents travel to Holland to take part in the Easter Open just south of Eindhoven.
The tournament features hundreds of teams from around Europe, including Holland, France, Belgium, Germany and Denmark.
Last season we took three teams and ended up winning two of the tournaments, so let's hope we can keep that record up and we come back with some more silverware. There will be more news on this soon.