Kyle's Side Face RochdaleRichie Kyle insists nobody is thinking of holidays yet, as his Blackpool Youth side prepare to welcome Rochdale to Squires Gate on Saturday for the final game of the season.
A win for the visitors will see them lift the league title, a feat Kyle achieved last season, but he admits his players will be doing all they can to spoil the party.
“The flip-flops aren’t on yet, not a chance,” he said. “For the second season on the trot, the league title could be won at Squires Gate, it’s just a shame it won’t be us this time, but we still have our say.
“It’s a shame that the team that won us the title never had a real chance to defend their crown, with so many players moving on, whether it be into the first-team or to other clubs. We know our season has been disrupted by many things, which stopped us ever having a prayer of defending our crown, but we’ve shown all along that on our day we are a match for anyone.
“Rochdale have been very impressive this season, they deserve to be where they are, but they still have a bit of work to do first. They know they’ll be in for a very tough 90 minutes."
With the likes of Mark Waddington, Dom Telford, Henry Cameron and Bright Osayi-Samuel making the step up into the first-team, it has left Kyle and his backroom team with a major re-building job, one which has seen a number of new faces feature in recent months, in preparation for next season.
The influx of new players has seen a dramatic change in fortunes for the young Seasiders, and they go into this weekend with a record of one defeat in seven.
“We had a difficult start to 2015, we lost a couple of key players and that meant the youngsters had to step up,” he said.
“To start with, there was probably a little bit too much reliance on the older players such as Mark, Dom and Henry, but once it was clear that they wouldn’t be with us anymore, it was time for new leaders to be born.
“This group have had to grow up very quickly this year, and some of the performances recently have shown how quickly they’re improving.
“As soon as we knew we were out of the cup competitions, the aim was to use the remaining fixtures to integrate new players into the group and try different things in preparation for next season.
“When we decided to do that, as is often the case with youth football, results became secondary and it was about development. We have replaced quality with quality and these last few months have set us in great stead to start the next season well and see where it takes us.
“I always pick a team to go out and win the game, and this is the biggest test for my players so far. Such a new team playing against Rochdale, who are going for the league. If we can compete with them, which I think we will, then we can compete with anyone, and it will bode well for next season. The lads can’t wait, and neither can I,” he added.