Sydney FC Foxtel National Youth League Head Coach Rob Stanton has heralded his squad ahead of Saturday’s Grand Final, labelling them on par as last season’s title winners.
A number of players from the Sky Blues 2015/16 title winning squad have departed, however Stanton believes those that have assumed their roles have performed equally as well, courtesy of the Sky Blues’ youth program.
“For me the squad is very similar [to last season’s title winners],” Stanton said.
“The players that have come in are players that have been promoted so they’ve been biding their time and learning their stuff in part of the overall program we have with the combined squads training.
“It’s just their progression and how we’ve set up, players who didn’t play a lot last year or weren’t in the squad have come in and played and that’s the pleasing part of it is that the program is working well with players coming through and developing.
“The squads are on par, I couldn’t divide them at this stage. The last team was excellent and so is this year.
“I think it’s fantastic for everyone involved, all the staff, players, assistant coaches and volunteers who have been tirelessly working,” he continued.
“The players, have backed up the same football consistently over an 18 month period and it’s they’re opportunity to shine again in a Final. I’m very happy for everyone involved and I think it’s deserved through hard work and consistency.”
Stanton said having featured in last season’s Grand Final would count for little as he said he’s expecting a tight battle against a City side that are very similar in their playing style to the Sky Blues.
“If the experience of playing there last year is a help, it gives you a little bit of and edge, we know the process, we know what we’re in for, but we’ll treat it just like another game,” Stanton said.
“It gets down to how you approach things and I don’t think City will change their approach to how they prepare for games like ourselves.
“You get videos and you get to see games of the opposition. We’ve had a look at them. You can see general things that they do and you just have to wait and see if they spring any surprises,” he continued.
“They’re very similar to us, there’s similarities to the way we play and set up. They like to keep the ball and build and create moments and they’ve got some speed in wide areas, good in through the middle.
“I think it’s going to be a real good battle, it might get down to little moments but they look like a decent team. We’ll pay them a lot of respect leading into the final but it will get down to who executes well.”
Sydney FC take on Melbourne City in the Foxtel National Youth League 2016/17 Grand Final at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday 28 January (kick off 2pm). Catch the match live on Fox Sports or follow @SydneyFC on Twitter for live updates.
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