Fabio Tavares’ goal against Wrexham last weekend was his 15th of the season so far.
He leads the goalscoring charts for the Youth Team, and the first-year scholar wants to reach his personal target of 20 before the season is up.
“I found in pre-season that I wasn’t really getting a lot of goals,” explained Tavares.
“Once the league season started, I got myself a few goals, and in the cup as well, so it’s good to be on 15 and hopefully I’ll get 20 before the end of the season.
“At first, I wanted to play two or three games to see how many goals I would get. Then I could roughly have an idea of how many goals I wanted by the end of the season.
“In my second game I scored a hat-trick against Fleetwood Town, so I thought I’d set myself a target of 20 goals, and try to stay on top of my game and play to the best of my abilities.
“[The hat-trick] It gave me a lot of confidence. Against Shrewsbury Town [on the opening day] I didn’t really play that well – I didn’t get that many chances to score. So that hat-trick boosted my confidence a lot.”
The Youth Team’s win against Wrexham was their seventh consecutive victory in all competitions, and they have needed to “win ugly” on occasion according to PDP Lead Coach Chris Brown, something Tavares says they are adapting well to.
“We’re flying, we’re getting a lot of wins. The game at Carlisle was hard because of the pitch, but we still played alright at times and scored two really good goals.
“It was difficult to adapt, because we play as a team. So instead of playing short in risky areas, we went long and dealt with it up the pitch, and won it back higher so we’re closer to the goal.
“We’re learning every game we play. We have the same mentality to go and win the game, but if something doesn’t go right for us we’ll quickly adapt to it and hopefully go and win the game.”
Dale face a trip to Blackpool on Saturday, and having beaten them in the EFL Youth Alliance League just before Christmas, Tavares says confidence will be high, but he is expecting a tough encounter.
“It gives us a lot of confidence that we’ve beat them and we know that we can do it again, and that we can play how well we played as well.
“It’s going to be a really difficult game. They drew 2-2 with Arsenal in the week, so they’re going to have a lot of motivation going into the game.
“But if we play the way we’ve been playing recently, and keep scoring goals and creating chances, I feel we should be okay.”
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