Anthony Wright | I want U18s to play with smiles on their faces
Anthony Wright wants his Swansea City Under-18s side to demonstrate enthusiasm and energy in their eagerly anticipated return to action against Cardiff City on Saturday (11am).
The young Swans head to the Cardiff International Sports Stadium aiming to complete the double over the Bluebirds in Professional Development League South, having enjoyed a commanding 3-1 win at Landore back in September.
Due to the rescheduling of several fixtures, this will be the under-18s’ opening match of 2021 – and first since the 4-0 defeat by Watford on December 12.
Having waited the best part of 10 weeks, Wright admits his players are desperate to get back out on the pitch.
And in a fixture that always promises to provide a competitive edge, he has encouraged them to embrace their return.
“I just want the boys to go out there and enjoy playing football,” the under-18s coach said.
“We’ve been waiting a while to play; it’s been a long time since the boys have played an under-18s game together.
“I expect them to be playing with lots of enthusiasm and energy around the pitch.
“There will be a bit of an edge to the game, which is great for the players’ development.
“But the key message from me will be for them to go out and play with a smile on their faces.”
Saturday’s trip to Leckwith marks the beginning of a busy week for the young Swans.
They also travel to Sheffield United on Tuesday, before welcoming Queens Park Rangers to Landore next weekend.
Following in the footsteps of their first-team counterparts, Wright believes the busy schedule will provide a good test of their credentials as they look to eventually progress to the senior environment.
“We’ve gone from not playing for 10 weeks to three games in the space of a week,” he added.
“As a coach, you’re always looking to get that momentum within the team, and that comes from playing week in week out.
“You look at the first team – they play every Saturday and Tuesday or Wednesday – so the players have to get used to playing twice a week.
“That is the level to which they must aspire. As part of their development moving forward, this will be a positive week.”