Craddock's Positive Review For Opening Night

Matt Craddock was encouraged by the opening night performance as the Wanderers’ new B team got up and running.

The newly-created squad started out with a 1-0 friendly loss at Atherton Collieries as the Northern Premier League outfit claimed victory with an 89th-minute goal.

But there were plenty of positive signs from a Wanderers’ line-up which started with five new faces and also gave game time to some members of the youth team late on.

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Several of the Whites’ new recruits showed up well with striker Conor Carty (above) denied a goal on his first outing by an offside flag.

And head coach Craddock felt there was plenty to take away from the Skuna Stadium as the B team took its first steps in the development project to build a better pathway between the Academy and first-team football.

“I was really pleased with the boys and the staff. I think we did a really good job and I think it showcases what we’re about,” said Craddock, who was appointed this summer from his previous role as the Academy’s head of coaching.

“Obviously, we are a little bit disappointed in the last minute giving away a goal but I said to the lads that if you take that minute out of the evening, we probably come away really positive and happy with what we’ve experienced.

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“Trying to put it into perspective, it’s our first outing with loads of positive to take from it.

“It’s the first time they’ve played together. We talked about coming to a place like this you have to work really hard to earn the right to play football.

“We had five or 10 minutes when we had to really fight and work hard to stay in the game.

“And once we did, our quality started to show and that’s what I’m really pleased with – that when we started to play you can see some of the patterns we have been working on and some of the individual qualities coming out and see players starting to combine with each other to create some opportunities.”

Wanderers were guided on the pitch by Andrew Tutte, who made a welcome return from injury to kick-start the playing aspect of his new player-coach role with the B team.

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The midfielder, 31, will guide and nurture those around him, with Craddock looking forward to an active campaign for his squad, which will play a variety of Central League and friendly fixtures.

“I think it’s a really exciting experience for the players,” Craddock added.

“We’re trying to get as much variety as possible and give them as many experiences as possible, so that when they do get into a first-team environment nothing is new to them.

“The idea is to try and get a full fixture list for the boys so they get used to playing 35-40 games a season and they get used to playing up against teams of different qualities, game styles and different environments like this.”

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