Under-23s ready for action

Lee Carsley, Head Professional Development Coach.

I’ve put a lot of information into the players the last couple of weeks in terms of the way we want to play, from our build up to creating chances.

Lee Carsley

Lee Carsley will take charge of Blues Development Squad for the first time on these shores on Tuesday.

A week-long training camp in Oliva, Spain, was rounded-off with a 4-1 defeat by Northampton Town’s first team in a friendly at Blues resort base, where the Cobblers were also staying.

Now it’s back to matters in England and a visit to the War Memorial Athletic Ground to take on Stourbridge (kick-off 7.30pm).

Carsley, who was appointed Head Professional Development Coach, this summer, will try to change the emphasis in style for Blues youngsters.

“Everyone is fit and raring to go,” he told “I’ve put a lot of information into the players the last couple of weeks in terms of the way we want to play, from our build up to creating chances.

“So I expect it to look pretty disheveled and disorganised, in all honesty, as they’re being asked to change the style a little bit.

“But the good thing is that they’re at the right age, not set in their ways.

“The attitude of the players for me has really stuck out, they keep asking questions and are determined to grasp what we are trying to do.

“I want them to take more ownership over decision-making in their careers, rather than us giving them the answers all the time.”

Wes McDonald scored for Blues in Spain, continuing his fine form from the back end of last season.

He is one player who has benefited from the work that went on before Carsley was added to enhance Blues development of its aspiring youngsters further.

Stourbridge will present a different kind of test to Northampton for the Under-23s and Carsley notes that there are some things that need to stay the same when tackling non-league opposition, or in the Professional Development League, for that matter.

“The basics of football never change,” he said. “It’s winning your personal battle as a player, blocking shots, getting the second balls, winning headers . . .

“We want to play an attacking brand of football, but, on the opposite side of that, you have got to be willing to do the digging as a player, earn the right to get on the ball and express yourself.

“We are not going to go away from those basic principles.”

It will be an emotional night for Dan Scarr, whose performances for the Glassboys in the Northern Premier League Premier Division and in the FA Cup sealed a transfer to Blues in January.

As Carsley plans to share the minutes around as Blues continue to build up match-action, Scarr and his team mates can expect a half to an hour each.

“We’ve not adjusted training to suit the game, so to have them fatigued going into it is part of the plan,” said Carsley. “Playing when your body is tired, when you don’t feel that great, it’s something you do in football and need to be able to cope with.”

Admission is £10 adults, £7 over 65s, £5 13s to 18s, free for under-13s accompanied by a paying adult.

All supporters now enter the ground via the turnstile block behind the Church End goal.

Stourbridge’s social club – the Glassboys Bar – is open to all supporters.