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Under 18s: Fitness levels delight Holmes

7 December 2016

Nottingham Forest Under 18 head coach Gareth Holmes praised his side’s fitness levels as they claimed a 4-2 win after extra-time against Ipswich to progress in the FA Youth Cup.

Toby Edser and Virgil Gomis were on target in normal time at The City Ground, before Ben Brereton struck twice in the additional 30 minutes to seal The Reds’ passage through to the fourth round.

Holmes was delighted to progress in the competition but felt there was still improvements to be made.

He said: “When you go back into the dressing room and the boys have won 4-2, we are really pleased with the result, although we are a little bit disappointed with the performance. 

“It is always difficult coming into the third round as the boys are finding their feet and finding out what this competition is all about, so we are pleased with the result but there are improvements to make with the performance.

“When you look at their second goal, the free-kick is an excellent goal. You just have to hold your hands up with that one. At the time they scored we are disappointed but we are confident with the boys’ fitness that we knew if it did go to extra-time we would have a chance as we knew that our boys are really strong.

“High fitness levels is something that we insist on in training. We talk about an intensity to our work, a desire and to push ourselves. Football is a game that for the majority you don’t have the ball, so you have to cover ground and big distances. The boys have got to prepare for that, especially when the nerves and added pressure takes a toll on their bodies.”

Holmes is now looking forward to what the competition may bring this year after a run to the fifth round last season.

He said: “We said in the dressing room that we are pleased to have gone through, and we can tick that one off and look forward to the next round whoever that may be against. 

“We will take anything; I am really pleased with the group that I have got. Our performance has got to be better and it will be as we ease ourselves in. Last season we played Brighton and we beat them just on penalties and went on to do well against Birmingham before losing to Liverpool. 

“We were under no illusions that this game was going to be a difficult one but I am really pleased to be through to the next round and we are looking forward to it.”

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