Under-23: “The Best I’ve Seen The Lads Perform”
Hayden Mullins hopes his side can transfer some real encouraging signs from the Premier League Cup draw with Plymouth Argyle into Wednesday's Professional Development League clash with Crewe Alexandra.
The Under-23 team will go from one end of the country to the other in the space of six days, playing Argyle at Home Park in a 1-1 draw last Thursday before heading up to the north west to take on the Railwaymen at Gresty Road tonight.
The Hornets can go top of the South Division with a win as leaders Coventry City are not in action until the following day, and Mullins says the team are in good spirits after the result, and more importantly the performance, at Plymouth last week.
"We did very, very well," he said. "It was the best I've seen the lads perform. For large parts we were really dominant. We had quite a few chances and should have been more than one up at the break. The longer the game went on and the longer we didn't kill it, they were always in it and they scored an equaliser. It was another learning curve and we spoke afterwards about seeing games out."
Jayden Bennetts opened the scoring with a cracker from distance and showed signs of recapturing the form that saw him emerge as a star of the run to the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup last season.
"Jayden has been working hard and that's his first goal of the season," said Mullins. "He has been keen to get on the sheet, as he's seen the likes of Jo [Hungbo], Sam [Dalby], Kaylen [Hinds] and Kane [Crichlow] all get on the sheet this season. I'm pleased for him and he took his goal well. He had a few chances after that as well so it was pleasing to see him play so well and get into some good areas."
Crewe are fourth in the North Division and have won their last three, including a win over an experienced Leeds team.
"They are always a good side," said Mullins. "When you play lower league sides, a lot of their 23 lads tend to train with the first team most of the week, so they are hardened to the way men train. It's always a tough game to play their 23s as they play good football, especially at Gresty Road."
Mullins took a strong side up to Crewe yesterday for an overnight stay, with many of the team coming straight from being part of a first-team session under Quique Sánchez Flores.
"We are in good shape," Mullins said. "A few of the boys training were with the first team, which is good. We are quite strong and have only got a few missing. Kane and Lewis [Gordon] are missing through injury and we've got a few out on loan, but we are in good nick."
HORNETS (vs Plymouth): Parkes; Balogun (C), Barrett, Spencer-Adams, Green; Hungbo (Forster 67), Wise, Whelan, Bennetts; Hinds, Dalby (Cassidy 84).
Subs not used: Hoskins, Adebiyi, Maclean.