Academy Manager reacts to the action...ACADEMY boss, Neil Woods, was disappointed with his side’s showing in our 0-0 draw with Wrexham in our final home League match of the season on Saturday.
Saddlers’ top scorer, Levi Rowley, picked up a knock that might rule him out of the last two matches of the season. The latter, of course, is the Midlands Youth Cup Final, which takes place at Banks’s Stadium next Monday evening.
But a more serious looking injury was picked up right at the end by a Wrexham youngster. And Woods was keen to stress that the visitors' misfortune puts football into perspective.
“It looks like unfortunately he has got a broken leg," said Woods at the final whistle. "Our best wishes go to him and his family. It puts football into perspective really.”
Woods had to replace Rowley after just ten minutes, after the striker picked up a knee injury in a challenge with the visiting goalkeeper. And he hopes the injury won’t rule the striker out of the remaining matches.
“It doesn’t look good at first glance and that could be the end of Levi’s season," he added. "We will have to wait until it settles down to get a proper diagnosis.
“But one players’ injury is another person’s opportunity."
Woods was unimpressed by his team’s showing and is eager for his team to finish the season strongly with a Cup Final just around the corner.
“I thought we were very poor today," he continued. "I think we had good spells and good moments, but the tempo that we played at for 90 minutes was well below what I would expect them to play at.
“You could put it down to it being the second to last game, but that’s irrelevant, we have a Cup Final in a week’s time.
“There isn’t a lack of effort, but you need more than that. Having said that, we probably did enough during the match to have won it.”
Saturday’s game mirrored a lot of matches the youngsters have had this season. Plenty of good football has been played, but admittedly there hasn’t been ruthlessness in attacking areas and Woods feels it has cost them dear.
“We have played some very good football throughout the season, but we have lacked positivity in the last third of the pitch.
“That is then highlighted by the mistakes at the other end. If you are not scoring goals, as soon as you make a mistake, you lose 1-0.
"We’ve lacked goalscoring presence, and we haven’t turned the quality of the football we play at times into enough of an end product.”
Nevertheless, the youngsters can still end the season with a trophy. They travel to Shrewsbury tomorrow as we bring the curtain down on our League campaign, before facing The Shrews for the second time inside a week at Banks’s Stadium next Monday in the Midlands Youth Cup final (kick-off 7.00pm).
At Tuesday evening's game against Crawley Town, the new scholars for next season will be in attendance. They have been invited with their families as guests of the club and will have a meal before the game and then go on the pitch at half-time.
By ALEX DICKEN