O'Leary targets cup run

31st October 2013

Kristian O'Leary is targeting a cup run after Swans Under-21s beat Millwall on penalties to go through to the third round of the Premier League Cup.

The young Swans held their nerve to win 4-2 in the shootout, after extra-time ended with the score locked at 1-1.

Liam Shephard got the second-half equaliser for the home side with a tidy finish after Aiden O'Brien put the visitors in front inside the opening five minutes.

O'Leary's side are now set for a home tie against Watford in the third round, and the U21s manager believes a cup run would be of huge benefit to his players.

"The more games we play at this level, the better," said O'Leary.

"The league season is only 18 games long, so the more the boys get to play, the more they will gain.

"We are looking forward to playing Watford at home in the next round. They'll be strong; the London teams are always strong.

"Whether they bring a few overage players, we will have to wait and see, but it will be a good test for us."

Despite conceding an early goal against Millwall, the youngsters battled their way back into the game, showing a great sense of character to get back on terms.

After having numerous chances to level the scores, a second-half strike by Shephard rewarded the home side for their efforts.

"The first ten minutes weren't great and, to be fair, Millwall started well - they scored one and could have had another," explained O'Leary.

"But after that, we stamped our authority on the game.

"We came up with some great attacking play, moved the ball really well and created numerous chances.

"Very much like last week against Crystal Palace, we probably should have gone in at half-time two or three goals up.

"But the boys showed a great deal of character in difficult playing conditions.

"We play expansive football and it's a lot of running for the players.

"We ask a lot of them, but they dug in, looked comfortable and showed how fit they are, playing for 120 minutes.

"And, of course, the players who were asked to take penalties stepped up confidently and put them away."

Swans U21s are next in action on Monday afternoon against Ipswich Town in the Professional Development League 2 (November 4, 2pm).

And O'Leary is hoping for more of the same when the Blues visit Stebonheath Park.

"We're looking forward to it," he added. "The boys have worked extremely hard, and they have taken the things we are trying to implement on board.

"Hopefully we have another good, energetic performance on Monday and can apply the finishing touches to the chances we create."