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'Every game is an opportunity'

Kevin O'Connor talks about his side's 3-3 draw with Exeter City

10 January 2018

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Kevin O'Connor spoke to iFollow after his side drew 3-3 with Exeter City on Tuesday afternoon. The B Team Head Coach stressed the importance of his squad using these fixtures as a platform for other things.

"I was really pleased with the second half," said Kevin, starting with a summary of the match. "I thought it was a proper game of football, they had a few First Teamers and gave our boys a different test. It wasn't always football on the floor and they were direct at times but it was a brilliant experience, especially for Jarvis [Edobor] and Mads [Bech Sorensen].

"I just had a laugh with them in the dressing room about how hard the game was against two proper centre-forwards. It was a brilliant challenge."

Having drawn 0-0 against The Grecians back in October, and now getting a 3-3 result on Tuesday, Kevin feels like he knows what to expect when they come to play his B Team side.

"They are exactly what you expect. They are hard working, they had an experienced team today and they make you work for every second ball. They do the ugly part of the game really, really well so we have to match them. We spoke about it at half-time, we had to at least match that to then be able to play football.

"Second half I thought we played really well. In the first half, it wasn't as good. I asked them the question after the game and they don't really know what happened themselves.

"I think it was our first game in probably three weeks so maybe that has something to do with it. In the second half I was pleased with our performance."

With more and more of the squad getting fitter and fighting for places, Kevin recognised that the competition for places within the squad is becoming more intense. 

"It's nice to have some strength on the bench as well, so when things aren't working for whatever reason then we can change things up. I thought the subs did really well today, obviously Herson [Rodrigues Alves] scored and Reece [Cole] came on. It was good to see and it's nice to have a full squad."

With the First Team side now out of both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup competitions, the only opportunity for B Team players to shine now falls in these fixtures. Kevin agreed.

"It's their only opportunity," said Kevin. "Every game is an opportunity for Dean Smith to watch and the coaching staff, and whoever else might be here for a potential loan. They have to go into the games with that mindset.

"We go into Reading now, that will be a very different challenge again. They are a side that like to play out from the back so it will be a different challenge with how we press. I'm looking forward to it."

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