Blues youngsters stronger and tougher

Blues Under-23s celebrate a goal

Transformation in Under-23s was evident during the season.

Beryly Lubala, one of the Development Squad key players, says he benefited.

Coach Richard Beale stressed upon the players the importance of the 'dirty' side of football and the mental aspects.

And after a sticky start, the Under-23s finished the campaign strongly, climbing off the bottom of the Professional Development League Two table to challenging for the play-offs, losing just one of their last 12 matches.

Speaking from his personal experience, versatile attacker Lubala commented: “It was a good season. There were a lot of learning curves.

“We got a lot stronger as a team. And I like to see myself as a good team player. So the team got stronger, the chemistry got stronger.

Myself, feel like I got fitter, better and on the ball – because I can play quite a few positions – I felt whether I played out wide, up front, sometimes in the centre it went well. I got great feedback from Richard Beale, he helped me all season to get better. He pushed me with extras after training.

“That’s one of the great things about having a coach like Bealey: he knows we are all good players, good technically; but that’s just half the game.

“The other side is the dirty side of the game. You have got to fight, got to battle. You have got to be mentally strong. You have got to be ready to run when your lungs are burning.

“That’s one of the things that I’ve got from this season.

“I’m ready to fight, I’m ready to go in the trenches if needed. Credit to Bealey for making that clear to us.

“The result, it doesn’t matter how we play as long as we stick together and get through it. That’s what the First Team want. It’s all about results.

“Again, that’s something that has got into my head from this season. It’s about winning and the hunger just keeps on getting stronger.”