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Byrne out to build momentum in EFL Trophy clash

18 September 2023

Interviews

Byrne out to build momentum in EFL Trophy clash

18 September 2023

The competition may be different but Rovers are looking to build on a first league victory of the season when they host Everton U21 in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.

Assistant manager Cliff Byrne insisted the focus of the group will not shift as they seek to craft positive momentum in results after seeing off Forest Green Rovers at the weekend.

Byrne admitted there had been a fresh bounce in the players in training on Monday morning following the victory and there is a determination to maintain that with another good result against the young Toffees side.

“Picking the three points up naturally gives you the confidence,” he said. “But the group has been very driven and performances have been strong and of a positive nature.

“The group is striving and pushing in one direction to get the points and push up the table.

“The win at the weekend will have reaffirmed the work we’ve been doing over the last few weeks and give us something to go and build on.

“We try to keep good method to what we do - win, lose or draw. That doesn’t change. We don’t like to get up or down too much.”

Everton U21 are one of 16 invited teams representing Category One academies throughout the country.

Despite the opposition being at a different stage of development in their careers, Byrne said there will be no change in how Rovers approach the fixture.

“These games don’t differ too much at all,” he said. “It’s still 11 v 11 on the grass and one ball between the two teams.

“When you come up against these teams you maybe don’t know as much about them as what you do league opposition but there’s no real difference in the preparation that we’d do for any game really.”

Injuries have ensured there will be limited opportunity for changes to the squad for the game.

But with manager Grant McCann having previously spoken of a desire for a good run in the EFL Trophy, Byrne said sweeping changes would have been unlikely any way.

“When you look at the numbers and the availability to make wholesale changes and I don’t think that’s something the manager would want to do any way,” he said.

“There will be a couple of changes here and there but it certainly won’t be wholesale.

“A good run in this competition can spark all sorts of things and off the back of a positive result at the weekend.

“We’re going into this game picking a team that we believe will be strong enough to go and secure the win.”

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