John Murphy was content to see his Blackpool youth side start the new North West Youth Alliance season with a 1-1 draw against Bury.
Despite the under-18s having led in the game until late on, Murphy took away plenty of positives considering the team’s pre-season preparations.
“I was really pleased. We’ve had a stop-start pre-season really and I’d describe us as a bit undercooked,” he said.
“In comparison to Bury’s eight pre-season games we’ve only had three. We’ve had games called off for a couple of different reasons – one club didn’t have the players and then we missed players through injury – so it was a scratched up team, really.
“The lads worked ever so hard and possibly deserved the win but Bury got a penalty late on, which was disappointing to concede. I was delighted with the efforts of the lads and there were plenty of positives to take from the game.”
Blackpool’s goal came courtesy of Fin Sinclair-Smith, who managed to find the net from a corner.
“I don’t think he meant to score but he’s put good whip on it and the keeper’s made a mistake. We’ll gladly take that because we’ve struggled for goals in pre-season. We had other chances in the game that we haven’t managed to take, so there’s lots of stuff to work on.”
The onus will be on numerous players to step up and perform on a consistent basis this season, with last season’s top goalscorer Rowan Roache now out on loan to Southport.
“Anyone is going to miss 30 goals and 20 assists,” Murphy admitted. “Rowan has done well to get to the next level and go out on loan so other lads now need to step up to the plate. Dylan Sumner is one who has got goals and assists in his locker. Hopefully he can be our Rowan Roache this season.”
For Murphy, the new campaign is one that sees him step up to the main job of coaching the under-18s and it’s one he’s relishing.
“I’ve probably been the bridesmaid for the last five or six years, learning from Richie (Kyle) and Ciaran (Donnelly), so it was about time I took the team myself. I’m enjoying it, there’s lots of responsibility and there are ups and downs but it’s good for my development. It’s my job to make those players footballers,” he added.