Academy Coach happy with performance against Portuguese side
- Mark Hudson reviews U19s' 1-1 draw with Braga
- Former Club Captain delighted with performance in Portugal
- Mark: "I was so proud of the togetherness"
Mark Hudson was a happy man after seeing his Town Under-19 side perform well in a 1-1 draw with hosts SC Braga in Portugal on Monday evening.
A predominantly young team contested an action-packed, end-to-end game against their equivalents from the former Europa League runners-up and did the Club proud, showcasing the ‘Terriers Identity’ in two contrasting halves.
“There were so many positives to take from Monday evening’s game,” Mark told htafc.com ahead of training in Portugal on Tuesday.
“We had a delay with our flight, so we didn’t arrive at our base in Arcos de Valdevez until 2am on Monday. That wasn’t ideal for the players when they had to face a top European Academy side just 15 hours later, but they represented the Club superbly.
“I think our performance showed we can compete with top teams. I was so proud of the togetherness, the fighting spirit and the fact that we played in our way in the face of such opposition.
“We exerted a real control over the game during the first-half, which was particularly pleasing against a very technical opponent. The players used the ball very well, which is important to how we play.
“Braga used 22 players in the 90 minutes and they were understandably fresher during the second-half, so we then had to defend. Again, the players coped with that very well and showed their quality out of possession, whilst still creating chances – such as the one that led to our goal.”
Although he was very happy with the performance from the Young Terriers, Mark still sees plenty of room for improvement from the Club’s promising players.
“You can always improve and obviously our focusing is on developing the players as far as is possible,” Mark continued.
“Games like this offer the lads a good challenge in managing the game, particularly when we go ahead. We will always try and improve our work on the ball as well; we want more of what we showed in the first-half yesterday.
“We constantly work on the final ball, too. We’re good at getting to the opposition’s box, but we must not rush the final pass when we get there. A good example of this was our final goal at Brentford B last week, when Demeaco Duhaney got the pass to Matty Daly spot on.”
Another big positive is the involvement of a pair of Leigh Bromby’s Under-17 squad.
‘Huddy’ explained: “We have two 16-year-olds with us in Jaheim Headley and Tom Bell, which is a great experience for them. Jaheim has only been at the Club since the summer and he showed his quality in playing 60 minutes for the Under-19s yesterday.
“Credit to the group and the staff for making him feel welcome. I can say from experience that the group we have is just as welcoming as the First Team, where it’s one of the key qualities.”
The return from injury of Matty Daly – a player who will be familiar to Town fans following his involvement with the First Team in pre-season – and winger Dom Tear also pleased Hudson.
“It’s been a frustrating time for Matty, as his recovery from injury has taken longer than we all initially expected.
“That can happen, and credit must go to Matty, the physios and the conditioning staff for getting him back in such top condition; he now looks like he’s never been away.
“For Dom too, it was a big moment. He missed all of pre-season and probably got through 15 minutes of work in just five minutes on the pitch!”
⚽️🥅📹 Having played the pass that led to @benjxckson being brought down for the penalty, #htafc Under-19 captain @scott_high10 stepped up to take the penalty against SC Braga last night...— HTAFC Academy (@htafcacademy) September 18, 2018
🎯 ... and found the top corner!#YoungTerriers (DTS) pic.twitter.com/YxlWzjsUn2
It’s a quickfire return to action for Hudson’s side, which hosts Spanish side Celta Vigo at its training base on Wednesday.
Mark concluded: “We’ve looked at Celta and they like to dictate play. We’ll show them respect, as always, but we will try and fight fire with fire and impose our game plan on them. It’ll be our second game in three days, so we’ll look to use the ball well; that means you don’t have to work hard to win it back.”
Follow updates from the game on Town’s dedicated Academy account, @htafcacademy!