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Sinclair praises battling win at Hartlepool

2 March 2023


Sinclair praises battling win at Hartlepool

2 March 2023

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Professional development phase coach Frank Sinclair was impressed by his side’s determined performance as Rovers U18s took a 1-0 win at Hartlepool United.

Second-year scholar Jack Goodman was the difference between the two sides at the final whistle as he turned in yet another goal to give the youth team victory in the North East.

The win takes Rovers into the top three of the EFL Youth Alliance League and Sinclair felt his side had to dig deep to secure the three points that took them there.

He said: “Hartlepool gave us a different test and challenge today but I thought the game was very physical and, with the pitch not been ideal, we had to roll our sleeves up so it’s been really pleasing to see us do that well.

“I thought we matched their physicality and their level of application throughout the game, and in some spells we played some really good football.

“We changed the shape at half-time because I felt we needed to play further up the pitch to cause them more problems, so bringing someone like Charlie Petch on gave us a good opportunity to do that.

“We narrowed them down to just the one effort in the last couple of minutes but even then, once again, Jacob Bryant was there to pull off an unbelievable save which is a real credit to him because he didn’t have loads to do during the game and was still so alert.

“All-in-all, it was a really pleasing day, we’ve got another really important three points and that’s four wins on the spin now.”

Leading goal scorer Jack Goodman put away his 20th success of the season during Rovers’ latest win, and the youth team manager admitted his striker is already above the standard of what he expects this season.

Sinclair added: “He’s been brilliant so far this season, he’s scored all types of goals so there’s not a lot more he can actually do on that front.

“I’ve said to him that he needs to set himself another target because most centre forwards do that and it’s usually 20 goals as the benchmark so he’s already done that.

“He needs to go again because he could add another ten to that before the end of the season and that would take us a long way as a team.

“He’s having to playing every game for us at the moment and he plays well every time, whether it’s with his goals or with his efforts for the team so he deserves full credit for that.”

Further second-year scholars, Jack Raper and Charlie Petch saw their returns to the youth team squad against Hartlepool, leaving Sinclair grateful to have more team selection at his disposal.

He said: “It was good to get them back involved today because, although we’ve obviously done quite well while they’ve been out, they’re going to be really important for us during the run-in.

“We’ve been a bit thin on numbers recently and we’ve had to make use of our U16s, but I’ve not had an issue with that because they’ve shown that they can step up and play well for us.

“Having said that, it is good to have them back now because it give us some really healthy options around the squad and, now that we’re closing that gap at the top, it’s going to be really important to have them all available for selection.”

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