- Latics’ under-18s host Rochdale in EFL Youth Alliance Cup Northern Area final on Saturday.
- Game to be played at Christopher Park, kick-off 11am.
- “Different pressure for the boys to deal with, let’s see how they handle it,” says Gregor Rioch.
Wigan Athletic’s Academy Manager Gregor Rioch is looking for Latics’ under-18 side to bring home some silverware on Saturday morning when they host Rochdale in the EFL Youth Alliance Cup Northern Area final.
In the last two seasons, the under-18s have reached the area semi-finals and area final but lost to Shrewsbury Town and Oldham Athletic respectively.
And Rioch says winning the area final would be a fantastic achievement, whilst also setting up a national final with either Bournemouth or Luton Town.
“The carrot is there for the boys with the national final against Bournemouth or Luton Town, but to win this game on Saturday would take us further than we have been in recent years and that’s got to be a great incentive.
“Rochdale are a good side, they have been playing well of late but so have we and this is a great opportunity to bring some silverware open.”
Coach Nick Chadwick has seen his side go unbeaten in their last seven matches and that form, as well as having a good squad available, stands Latics in good stead according to Rioch.
“At the start of the season we had eight of our nine midfield players carrying an injury so we were suffered some inconsistent results and performances as a result of not being able to field a regular team,” he added.
“Now we’re in good form, we’re fit and ready after last weekend as some of the older lads played against FC Edmonton in a friendly whilst a few younger lads played up in the league game at Burnley.
Rioch knows his side will have to deal with the different proposition a cup game brings to their orthodox league matches, and it’s that pressure he wants to see his young players deal with.
“We won the league last year and these lads have been used to getting consistent results throughout a league programme,” Rioch continued.
“However, the cup is different and, though some of the lads have played in the FA Youth Cup and the early rounds of this competition, this will be a unique pressure and it will be interesting to see how they cope with it.”