Chelsea loanee and Leeds youngsters earn Coleman’s praise
John Coleman admits the EFL Trophy will always be a competition Stanley look to do well in after thrashing Leeds United Under-21s 7-0 at the Wham Stadium.
Tariq Uwakwe scored a hat-trick just 24 hours after signing on loan from Chelsea, while fellow loanee Ryan Cassidy added a brace. Cameron Burgess made it two goals in two games, with Dion Charles also on target for a rampant Stanley side.
They led 5-0 at the break, and Coleman admits there was no let-up in the second half, giving credit to Leeds for the way they dug in during the second half to concede just twice more.
Stanley were beaten on penalties in the Carabao Cup by Burton, so recorded their first win of the campaign against a Leeds side made up entirely of teenagers, before their opening day game with promotion-candidates Peterborough United on Saturday.
“We’re still using this as a build-up for our pre-season. Pre-season hasn’t been ideal and we’re still trying to get ourselves tip top,” Coleman told the BBC.
“A lot of our lads haven’t played 90 minutes so that’s it under the belt for a lot of them. We can try and just do what we can do, our prime focus is now Saturday and always was, but we are taking this competition seriously as we have every time we’ve played in it.”
Winger Uwakwe only signed for the club on Monday before being handed his debut a day later, and it was his overall performance, just as much as his goals, that impressed his new boss.
“He took his goals really well, he had one or two assists as well, but there were other good performances as well, the two forwards linked well, some great interchanging, they worked their socks off, and they put a shift in which is what you can ask.
“It’s still in pre-season but it’s a game we wanted to win.”
Coleman was keen to praise the application of the visitors, albeit in trying circumstances.
“I must give credit to Leeds, they kept on going right to the end, only young boys,” he added.
“We can’t govern what they put out, but they showed great character and a great appetite, it could have been an avalanche. They only conceded two in the second half and we were trying to score as many as we could. They stuck to their task.
“They had some technical footballers but the age and strength factor was always going to come in to it. It’s unfair to judge them on that, but they showed enough in the game to let you know there will be some good players coming through the Leeds Academy, through to the Under-23s and the first-team.
“I just think that will do their lads the world of good.”