O'Leary hails friendly benefits
14th December 2013
Kristian O'Leary believes game time is hugely important in the development of his Under-21s players and lauds the benefits recent friendly matches have had on his squad.
Over the past few weeks, Swansea City U21s have played the likes of Haverfordwest, Fulham and Bristol Rovers in exhibition games, in order for the young Swans to get as many competitive minutes as possible.
On Tuesday afternoon (December 10), the Swans beat Bristol Rovers 2-0 at Fairwood, after a 2-2 draw against Fulham at Craven Cottage on the Friday and a 0-0 stalemate at Haverfordwest, two weeks previous.
All three matches were good tests for the U21s, and O'Leary believes that it's crucial that his players play in as many matches as possible.
"It's important that players get games," said the U21s boss. "With the few amount of league games that we have, we are trying to organise as many friendlies as we can, so that the boys get minutes.
"If they can get a game every week, it's really good for them.
"Last week, we had a really good test against Fulham, who are top of the Category 1 league, drawing 2-2 after goals from Rory Donnelly and James Loveridge.
"It really was the cliché match - a game of two halves. We dominated the first-half and went in one up, but they came back at us in the second-half, even though we could have nicked it.
"Then we had a friendly with Bristol Rovers on Tuesday, which allowed us to give minutes to players who haven't played as much of late, due to various circumstances.
"We won the game 2-0, and it was really good to see the work we have been doing on our link-up play coming through.
"It was also nice to see Ryan Hedges get his fifth goal in two games, and to see James Loveridge get his name on the scoresheet again."
Swans U21s return to Professional Development League Two action on Monday, December 16, at home to QPR.