'U23s motivated by first-team debuts'

15th February 2018

Gary Richards believes recent first-team debuts will inspire Swansea City Under-23s to continue their progression when they face Tottenham in Premier League 2 at Landore this Friday (7pm).

Academy graduates Connor Roberts, Daniel James and Adnan Maric have all played under Carlos Carvalhal in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, six wins from seven matches – plus one draw – have seen the young Swans put together an unbeaten run in Division One that stretches back to October last year.

The development side will extend that to eight games if they can avoid defeat against Spurs tomorrow.

“Our performances have been good,” Richards said.

“We approach every game with a very professional attitude and we want that to continue.

“This unbeaten run is a testament to the players’ attitudes on and off the pitch. It has not been easy to achieve and we want to keep it going for as long as possible.

“We are delighted with the way the players have adapted to this level of football. They have not let us down and are starting to show they can compete at a higher level.

“For our group to see players like Daniel and Adnan get first-team game-time is a huge incentive.

“It is a terrific boost for the academy and it should only motivate and send a message to our younger players that hard work at development level will get you to the next level.”

Keanan Bennetts rescued a point for Spurs in a 2-2 draw after Oli McBurnie had given Swansea the lead when the sides met at the Lamax Stadium in September.

The Swans go into tomorrow’s game fourth in the table, while Tottenham – unbeaten in three – are up to 10th.

And despite the gulf between the sides, Richards has warned against complacency.

“We can’t let their league position fool us,” he said. “Tottenham have one of the best academies in the country. They are a very good side with some excellent young players.

“They showed that when we met them last year and we need to rise the challenge once again.

“Our performance levels should not drop. If our levels are not where they need to be, it is going to be difficult to get a result.”

Swansea City Under-23s face Tottenham at Landore this Friday, February 16 (7pm). The game will be streamed live and free via www.swanseacity.com.