Darren Way

Match Preview | Argyle Under-18s v Stevenage

Sync Fixtures

Argyle Under-18s manager Darren Way was understandably bursting with pride at a group of his current squad being involved in the first team’s Papa Johns Trophy game at Swindon Town on Tuesday.

Will Jenkins Davies and Oscar Halls scored in a 3-1 win, while Jack Endacott started the fixture and Freddie Issaka came on as a substitute at The County Ground. Zak Baker, too, made the bench as a substitute goalkeeper. This was all in addition to young pro Brandon Pursall playing the game in central defence.

All acquitted themselves well, and Darren was in attendance at Swindon as some of Argyle’s future announced themselves in the present.

“It’s probably the proudest moment for me since I’ve been at the football club,” said Darren. “A lot of staff have put a lot of time, effort and energy into coaching Jack, Oscar, Will, Freddie, so to see the maturity, the intelligence and the understanding to play in a pressurised game was really pleasing to see.

“I thought James Wilson was great in terms of managing Oscar throughout the game, and the gaffer on that side. [Oscar] has an excellent personality, a real good character, he wants to win and can be very aggressive. From start to finish this, and the Bristol Rovers game, have been games that have been excellent for him.

“As a staff, we can see the development and all the hard work, the perseverance behind the scenes, paying off, which is excellent for everyone at the football club.

“It’s been a good week for everyone involved in the Academy.”

To hopefully end that week in the best fashion, Argyle Under-18s host Stevenage on Saturday afternoon in the next round of the Youth Alliance Cup, at 2pm.

The Pilgrims got to this stage via a 3-0 win over Leyton Orient, in which Freddie Issaka scored twice, netting either side of a Cole Gibbings effort.

Darren is eyeing progress in a competition in which the Young Pilgrims have not always fared as well as they might.

“We’ve not has success in this competition since I have been here,” Darren said. “Cup runs create good memories; they are good for the team. The games become more competitive as you progress, and the players are then challenged more, so it is a big plus all round.

“The players that have been involved with the first team come into the squad with a huge amount of confidence. It will be good to play in front of the first-team staff at Harper’s Park on an excellent surface for us to get the ball down and play.

“The club, the first team, is accelerating at a fast pace. It’s so important that we make sure our standards and work rate remain as high as it can be to give the players the best chance when the opportunity comes that they do everything they can to take it.”

England at Home Park