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INTERVIEW: John Dempster's Mid-Season Review

The Under-18s coach reflected on the season so far...

15 January 2021

The Sky Blues U18s are halfway through their season and coach John Dempster has reflected on the season so far and looked ahead to returning to league action soon.

The U18s have come back from their winter break and will get back onto the pitch in a friendly away at Aston Villa this weekend.

Speaking on the return to football, manager John Dempster said: “We are glad to be back, the boys trained twice over the winter period which has helped massively because it means we came back to the first session of the new year ready to go."

However, some of the lads didn’t get much of a break as they earned opportunities to play with the U23s over the festive period.

“It’s great to see some of the lads be involved with the U23s on matchdays, it’s what we aim to do. As much as we want to win games at our level and be successful, the main focus is pushing the players forward and developing them to the next level by making sure they are ready for U23s football.”

“It makes us incredibly proud as coaches to see players get these sorts of opportunities, it’s credit to players for their hard work but also to the Professional Development Phase (PDP) staff, who have been excellent so far this season.”

The current season has started off with a home win against Barnsley whilst two wins from their last two games shows their good form going into the second half of the season.

From 13 games in all competitions, Coventry have won five, drew three and lost five, which leaves them fifth of nine in the Northern division of the U18 Professional Development League.

“We started the season really well and I think that was down to a good pre-season, the staff at the academy worked hard and put things in place that meant we could train together as a group two weeks before our official pre-season started. I think this helped the new staff and players to bond together well before the hard work began.

“Our goal at the start of the season was pretty simple really. We want to finish higher in the table then we did last season because that would show progression and a good level of development from the players, so far we are doing well to achieve that goal and will look to continue that into the second half of the season.

“We are also really happy with some of the goals we have scored, Harrison Nee is one of, if not the top goal scorer in the league and has done really well up top, but the team as a whole as done well to keep scoring goals.”

Despite the result, the FA Youth Cup tie away at St Mary’s against Southampton will be a day the young Sky Blues will remember.

“One highlight of the season so far was the week building up to the Southampton game, although we didn’t get the result we wanted, the level of preparation and effort from the players and staff was brilliant.

“The boys enjoyed the trip down and the chance to play at a professional stadium too. Despite the result, the players came away from that game reflecting well. They will only learn from games like that which helps with their development.”

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