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Nash: Disappointing Night But Positives From Season
Wednesday, 1st May 2019 11:00

Town U23s coach Gerard Nash admitted last night’s 3-0 Professional Development League Two play-off defeat to Birmingham City was a disappointment but overall was able to look back on a successful campaign.

The young Blues, who won Professional Development League Two South by seven points, went behind early on to the Midlanders, who were second in the North section, at Portman Road last night and never looked like getting back into the game. Birmingham now visit Leeds in the final.

“It’s a disappointing night and it’s disappointing that the season’s over because it would have been some good experience for the boys and it would have been nice to go and play at Elland Road again,” Nash said after the match.

“It would have been a really good experience for the young players and I think they would have got a lot out of it, which is what we’re all here to do, what it’s all about.

“Hugely disappointing because that would have been a really nice game to finish the season with.”

Reflecting on the defeat, the former Irish U17 international central defender added: “I thought they were the better team. Quite simply they’re a team, I think they’ve played together quite a lot.

“If you look at their team there’s been a lot of consistency whereas I think with the way we operate we’re quite different because there’s no a huge pressure to win games, it’s about developing individual players.

“I thought they were the better team and I thought they had the better players on show tonight for the most part.

“It’s hard 20 minutes after a game to talk about the positives but overall there have been positives this season.

“I think the positive tonight was that we had a lot of young players on the pitch and they will have had an experience that they will not have had before in terms of certain things that went on, and I think that’s good for them.

“It gives them experience and is something that hopefully will make them stronger. We had a lot of young players on the pitch, we had a couple of trialists play [Newcastle winger Deese Kasinga-Madia and Aston Villa central defender Ethan Patterson], so we’ll address how they’ve done.

“It’s not easy for them coming in to play in a team, they don’t know their team-mates, there’s no relationship with people really, so that’s not easy for them.

“I thought Harry Wright made some really good saves in the second half, three or four were excellent, so I think Harry Wright comes out with a lot of credit but I’ll need to watch the game back again.”

Despite the disappointment of last night’s result it’s been a successful campaign at U23s level with the likes of Jack Lankester and Idris El Mizouni breaking into the first team and plenty of players having been handed their first professional contracts.

“Our job is to try and improve players, to try and improve people and a lot of work goes into that,” Leixlip-born Nash, 32,who runs the U23s alongside his assistant Chris Hogg, continued.

“A lot of players have progressed and there have been have opportunities to play in the first team in the Championship for players because of a variety of things, the manager’s been brave enough to throw them in.

“They’ve gone in and handled that environment reasonably well some of them. So yes, there have been positives.

“Some of the biggest positives for me are probably a little bit different, Shane McLoughlin’s gone on and is playing in League One now for AFC Wimbledon. He’s been someone who’s been a really wonderful person and player at this club.

“He had a little bit of a spell in the first team, the odd game here and there, but he’s progressed and moved on to another club which is a part of the success of doing this job.

“And tonight there were a lot of young players on the pitch, a lot of youth team players and it’s really important that they have this experience.

“Overall there’s a lot of good young players at this football club. I think a lot of good work has gone on and is going on.

“I think there are a lot of people in the academy who really care about players developing but it’s about actually doing it, stepping across the line we call it sometimes, and doing it and making that breakthrough.

“It’s a really tough world football, it’s a really tough world and nobody will give them anything for free, they’ll have to go and earn it.

"They’ll have to go and fight for every inch because it is a big, bad world out there and League One won’t be any different to that, let me tell you.

“It’ll be a really tough league and there are a lot of footballers scrapping for careers and trying to earn careers.

“We have players who can do that, but the next challenge is that they’ve got to go and do it, they’ve got to get in teams and play in teams and be a success. But yes, I think there are players who can do that, absolutely.”

Asked whether there’s a sense of pride when players he has coached such as Lankester or El Mizouni break into the first team, Nash said: “Yes, but I think that’s for the whole academy. It’s such a big academy, all academies are big now, there are so many people involved. You’ve got the recruitment staff, somebody will have recruited Jack Lankester as a kid.

“You’ve got the nines, 10s, 11s, 12s, just so many coaches along the way, so it’s certainly not the result of one person, it’s the work of a lot of people and I think everyone deserves that little bit of credit and obviously it’s great for the football club when they do come through because the fans here love their own.

“They really identify with it, I think they’ve been really good with the young players over the course of this season and for several seasons really. And I think, for young players, it’s a wonderful place to be at the moment.”

Nash, who says he’s had an “incredible season” in terms of what he’s learnt, believes the young players at the club could benefit from the drop into League One.

“I think it’s very difficult in the Championship,” he considered. “You don’t see many teams at the top end getting promoted or right in the mix for promotion with too many young players.

“Obviously our team, we’ve had a lot of young players, but it’s probably very hard to blood young players and still be competitive at the very top of the Championship, certainly with five or six of them. You might have two or three but certainly to have too many of them is difficult because they need that experience.

“It could potentially be a good thing for them in some regards in terms of playing time potentially, I don’t know. It’s way above my head and above my station, so I’ll concentrate on my job which is helping these young players to get better.”

Like his first-team counterparts Nash, whose playing career was cut short in its early days due to a succession of knee injuries, had praise for the Blues support, who made themselves heard during his side’s final home games.

“The fans have been absolutely wonderful over the last couple of games and it reminds me a little bit of the last four games of last season when they were the same, they were absolutely fantastic when Chris and Bryan [Klug] and myself were working with the first team,” he recalled.

“Obviously they’ve been fantastic ever since Paul Lambert and his staff have come in. I’m really disappointed the way we did in front of them tonight because they’ve created a good atmosphere at the last couple of games.

“You can really see how much people care about the club at the moment, we all do, we all want to do well and I think we all want to be successful and achieve things and hopefully we can all do that once we’ve all had a break and come back and do it again next season.”

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BackToRussia added 11:08 - May 1
Seems weird to play triallists in the big game. The regular u23s must have felt a bit miffed and seems like it weakened the team too.
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muhrensleftfoot added 12:03 - May 1
I don't agree with the mantra of Paul Lambert and his staff with regards to the u23s and academy in that winning isn't important. Yes agree that success of the academy is measured on how many players progress to the 1st team, but surely a winning mentality is vitally important. That's certainly sadly lacking in the 1st team currently.
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Skip73 added 12:26 - May 1
There is absolutely no winning mentality at the club whatsoever, hence the story about the real trophy being about getting the youngsters into the first team, Pathetic really. We'll never progress with that atitude.
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RobITFC added 14:28 - May 1
What happened to Conor Mckendry , has he left the club or is he injured. ?
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PhilTWTD added 17:43 - May 1
RobITFC

Been released, but is still around at the moment, I saw him the other day, but recently had a trial at Bohemians Prague: https://www.twtd.co.uk/ipswich-town-news/35779/mckendry-on-trial-at-bohemians-pr
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