Toshack wants Swans to rise to the occasion

3rd February 2019
Under-21s

Cameron Toshack has urged Swansea City Under-23s to grasp the opportunity and rise to the occasion when they face Everton at the Liberty Stadium on Monday (7pm).

The young Swans welcome the Premier League 2 leaders in what will be their second match at the Liberty this season, having also faced Bristol Rovers there in December’s Checkatrade Trophy clash.

The development side also enjoyed the stadium experience in the reverse fixture with Everton at Goodison Park earlier this season – just a couple of weeks after they took on Leicester at the King Power Stadium.

Toshack believes these experiences will only benefit his players and is hoping for a good turnout on Monday.

“We’ve been fortunate to play at Goodison Park and the King Power Stadium so far this season and it’s great when they have the chance to play at these venues,” the under-23s' coach said.

“As a young footballer looking to create a pathway for yourself, it’s important to get used to playing in these big arenas. Even though they’re not full, the first step is to get on these pitches and get a taste for the atmosphere as it’s completely different to playing at training grounds.

“They have to feel comfortable in these occasions, so any opportunity they have in this environment and to be tested can only benefit them.

“As you’ve seen with a lot of the youngsters that are now playing for the first team, that first step is playing a few games at the stadium and getting your eyes open to what’s involved.

“Any support that we can get is really appreciated. The young players thrive on that element. When people are there and there’s a bit of noise in the background, it goes a long way towards helping their development.”

Everton arrive at the Liberty aiming to maintain their position at the top of the table, although you have to go back to the start of November for their last victory away from home in Premier League 2.

Nevertheless, Toshack is fully aware of the threat they possess.

“We’re really looking forward to the challenge we’re going to face against a strong Everton side,” he added.

“Over the past couple of years, their under-23 group has been really positive in the way they play. They have a way of doing things and do them very well. They have boys out on loan and look to produce professional footballers.

“In our recent games against them, they’re always been very physical and provided tough challenges.”

January was a mixed month for the young Swans as they enjoyed a thumping 5-1 victory over Derby County, as well as a 2-0 win over Oxford United in the Premier League Cup.

However, they were beaten 3-0 by Leicester City in Premier League 2, and 2-0 by Liverpool in the Premier League International Cup.

Nevertheless, Toshack maintains that his players have positives to build on.

“We had a little bit of a blip in the middle of the month, but we were excellent when we went to Derby and also played really well against Liverpool,” he said.

“If you go to Liverpool and tick the box saying you had greater territory, greater possession and more chances, you’ve clearly done something right in the game.

“We’re doing a lot of good things and the players are developing. Now, it’s just a matter of pulling everything together and being consistent with our performances.”

Supporters can watch the under-23s' next three home games for free at the Liberty and raise money for a cancer charity in support of Jack Evans.

Young midfielder Evans was diagnosed with cancer last summer and received treatment at the Teenage Cancer Trust’s unit in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

The 20-year-old has helped raise money for the Trust, while the Swans’ first-team and U23s squads have also contributed along with his family and friends.

Supporters can now add to the contribution towards the charity during the U23s’ next three Premier League 2 fixtures at the Liberty.

Rather than charge an admission fee, the club is encouraging fans to make a donation to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Supporters can collect their ticket at the stadium ticket office on matchdays, with donations available via card or cash.