Under 18s coach Jack Lester believes Nottingham Forest’s FA Youth Cup third-round performance against MK Dons has given them a platform to build on in the next round.West Brom are Forest’s fourth-round opponents at The Hawthorns on Thursday night and, while Lester and the rest of the coaching staff would have preferred a more comfortable victory over the Dons, a game which ended 3-2 after extra time, he says plenty of encouraging signs were on show.
Lester told Forest Player: “If you take the stats from the game, the amount of crosses and entries into their box and the possession we had was phenomenal. It really should have been a comfortable game.
“It was a good performance in terms of energy and desire, and the bit I really liked was that they never gave up. They kept going and that’s why they won.”
The 18s, who are led by former Aston Villa youth coach Kevin MacDonald, are on a strong run in the league having won their fifth match in a row at the weekend.
But Lester is looking forward to assessing the mental capability of the squad in a cup match against Premier League opposition.
He said: “It’s great for the players because it is a step up – playing in a big stadium. With that comes pressure, and you need to see which players can cope with that.
“You do learn a lot about your players. Who relishes that challenge? That’s one of the big things you take from these experiences.
“As a club we’re very much looking forward to it. It’s a great opportunity for the lads and it will be a tough game against a good team – but it’s one we’re well prepared for.”
Click here to watch the full interview on Forest Player.