Rick Ashcroft, Head of Academy Coaching, spoke to Dale PlayerHD ahead of Rochdale’s FA Youth Cup tie v Notts County on Tuesday evening…
Dale head to Meadow Lane for the second round tie – 7pm kick-off – and Ashcroft says everyone involved is looking forward to it.
“Although you treat it the same as every other game, it’s a different type of game.
“It’s a knockout competition and it has a lot of prestige attached to it. It’s got the added pressure of the first team management being there in the stadium and it definitely gathers momentum the closer you get to the tie.
“The lads know how important it is for them, and it's a brilliant competition because it puts you on a bigger stage and on a bigger platform with more people watching.
“But it’s about us doing what we want as football club, it’s about doing what we want individually as players and bringing out their strengths and characteristics within that.”
He continued: “The lads are looking forward to it and it brings a lot of different energy to the changing room and into training.
“A little bit of nervous energy, excitement and a little bit of apprehension all come together with these types of games, especially with playing away from home because it’s a slightly unknown in terms of venue.
“It’s something we all really look forward to because it gives you a chance to see the true characteristics that come out of people, whether it’s during adversity, during when you’re doing well, or under pressure.
“It’s pressurised but the players put a lot of pressure on themselves to perform on these kind of occasions.
“It’s about relaxing and focussing on doing what we do in the game by trying to implement our philosophy and imposing ourselves on the opposition.”
Notts County currently sit third in the Youth Alliance North East Division after winning six out of their ten league games, and Ashcroft is expecting a tough encounter.
“They’re doing really well and they’re on a really good run of form which brings confidence.
“We’ve had a little look at them on footage but you can only plan so much because you don’t know what the opposition are going to do to plan for you. They’ve picked a good run of results so it’ll be a tough task.”
The full interview is on Dale PlayerHD.