Sky Blues Under-23s Head Coach Luke Tisdale expressed his delight at his side’s Birmingham Senior Cup progression amid a number of absences within the squad.
A dramatic 2-1 victory versus AFC Wulfrunians, courtesy of an injury-time winner from Harrison Nee, secured a place for the Sky Blues in the Second Round following a first-half opener from Jodi Jones.
“I’m really, really proud of the team,” Tisdale commended.
“I thought that they learnt their lessons from the Coventry Sphinx game, they stood up for themselves and they backed each other up.
“To score late on and get through is brilliant. It’s great for Harrison Nee who has had a bit of a tough time recently; he can’t really get himself into the team because of how well Fabio has been playing, and he comes on and scores the winner, so it’s brilliant for him.
“We were missing quite a few bodies; obviously Ryan Howley is away with Wales at the minute, Josh Reid has got a foot injury which hopefully won’t keep him out for too long at all, but the game just came a little bit too early for him. Jay McGrath is injured, so we were a real mixed bag last night.
“Marco Rus had to play right-back, and he did really well. Blaine Rowe played centre-back, we had Jodi Jones at left wing-back for a spell, so it was a difficult night for the balance of the team, which makes the win even more pleasing to be honest.
"Everybody contributed across the course of the whole evening, which was brilliant.”
Tisdale also highlighted the value of his Under-23 side facing senior teams in order to add further progression for his players - an added benefit of reaching the Birmingham Senior Cup Second Round:
“It’s brilliant, it’s something that we don’t get. This season we’ve tried to add in games that the Under-23s don’t normally get, so we’ve adding in games against men’s non-league teams, we’re adding in games against Category 1 academies, and the Birmingham Senior Cup allows us a cup competition as well.
“But as good as they are, they only last as long as you keep winning, so whoever we get in the Second Round, we will be looking forward to that game to hopefully go one step further.”
Next up for the Sky Blues is Wigan Athletic Under-23 in the Professional Development League, and Tisdale stated his desire to bounce back from recent defeat to Sheffield United against in-form opposition.
“Wigan won their fourth game in a row last night and we took a few points from them last year so they will want to get their revenge, I imagine.
“It’s important that we bounce back from the Sheffield United game and make sure that we get some points back on the board and extend that lead at the top, so I’m sure that it will be a proper game against Wigan; it always is.
“Hopefully we will have a few bodies back for that game, but if not then we will keep going as we are and the group will carry on working really hard for each other and do whatever we need to do to get through the game and find a way to win.”