Richards: U23s have no reason to doubt themselves
Gary Richards believes Swansea City Under-23s have no reason to doubt themselves ahead of launching their Premier League Cup title defence against Newcastle United on Wednesday (1pm).
The young Swans completed the double when they beat Reading 2-0 in last year’s final thanks to Adam King’s brace and begin the defence of their crown at Whitley Park against Peter Beardsley’s side.
Their four-day trip to the North East began with a 2-0 victory over Sunderland in Premier League 2 on Sunday, with Oli McBurnie's double making it two successive wins following the impressive 3-1 success against Arsenal.
Three days on Richards believes it is a good opportunity to rotate the squad, but insisted that a strong side will take the field as they look to build on their momentum against the young Magpies.
“We’ve got no reason to doubt ourselves because we come into the game off the back of a couple of wins," he said. "We definitely want to take that momentum with us into the game.
“With two games coming so soon, we’ll be hoping to give one or two different players who deserve a bit more game-time the opportunity that they’re desperate for, but it’ll still be a strong team."
“We’ve had a good four days here. Just like last year, we’ve done some good training and the lads have spent a lot of time together.
"We’ve stayed over for a number of reasons but the most important one is to produce two good performances from the two games.”
Coincidentally, the Swans' surge to last year's Premier League Cup title began with a hard-earned 0-0 draw against Newcastle.
And Richards has urged his players to produce another good display in Northumberland to strengthen their chances of progressing to the next phase.
“It all started here last season," he recalls. "Both players and staff gained a lot of good experiences from this competition and going all the way to the final was a really good and enjoyable experience.
“It is the first game but, if we can start well with a good performance, it will make qualifying for the knockout stages all the more easier.”