Sydney prepares for takeoff in Youth League clash with Jets

Sydney FC’s Hyundai A-League side might be out of finals contention and gearing up for the last game of its campaign this weekend, but the Sky Blue’s table-topping youth team is still flying the flag and remains a leading contender to claim the club some silverware in 2009.

Sydney FC-s Hyundai A-League side might be out of finals contention and gearing up for the last game of its campaign this weekend, but the Sky Blue-s table-topping youth team is still flying the flag and remains a leading contender to claim the club some silverware in 2009.

With Steve O-Connor-s squad turning into a production line for the senior side recently, the youth team has experienced its first drop in form of the campaign, with the side being forced to chop and change from week to week.

But a resilient draw against second-placed Queensland last weekend kept the junior Blues six points clear with four rounds to play, and the coach believes his side can regain its momentum and put one hand firmly on the minor premiership trophy this Saturday at home against the Newcastle Jets.

“The next few weeks will more or less be trying to keep things simple, making sure we don-t lose our enthusiasm and are still working hard on the paddock at this stage of the year,” O-Connor said. “Make sure the players are doing the simple things well - closing down, winning the ball, putting pressure on.”

The side will again feature a mixture of recovering over-age players and youngsters, but once the Hyundai A-League season is over, O-Connor is relishing the return of his stars like Brendan Gan, Kofi Danning and Rhyan Grant.

“It-ll be good to have them back to be able to work as a group and get back to where we were before and make further improvements.”

While the promotion of youth into the first team has hampered the consistency of O-Connor-s side, he-s pleased his young charges have grabbed their chance.

“The boys have done really well - we said there would be opportunities from the start - if they performed and that has been the case for some of them.”

Sydney-s entertaining play this season is all the more impressive considering most of O-Connor-s youngsters train away with the first team until late in the week - so it is ominous to think what they will be capable of with the benefit of an extended spell together at the end of the season.

The young Sky Blues will be back in action at Cromer Park in Dee Why on Saturday, with kick-off in the round-18 clash at 5pm.