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Powell encouraging young players to play with freedom

21 February 2019

Chris Powell looks ahead to the trip to Accrington Stanley on Saturday and discusses the injury problems that he faces.

His squad has been depleted all season and this weekend could see up to 14 players sidelined.

However, Powell is hopeful of Stephen Humphrys’ availability after suffering a dead leg against Portsmouth.

Here’s what the Blues boss had to say at Thursday’s press conference.

On the squad being thin this weekend…

It’s thinner. I’ve more than likely lost Michael Kightly and there’s one or two that I’m giving another day to so it’s likely we will be thin on the ground but we have to get on with it.

On the comebacks of Rob Kiernan and Harry Lennon for the U23s on Monday…

They’re on the bench [against Portsmouth] by default. Rob Kiernan has been out for 18 months, he’s played 45 minutes of football which was on Monday. He couldn’t do anymore.

But I had to put him on the bench last week.

Harry Lennon played 60 minutes, but he was still recovering on Tuesday.

They’re both on the bench by default. I would be loathed to put them on early on, because I’m not too sure they would last.

But if I had to put them on for a half or any time in the second period I would hope that their previous experiences would get them through. That’s how thin we are. They know that.

I’ve spoken to them both, but I would rather they are in and around it, helping and motivating the group.They’re two good characters and I would rather they’re involved.

They’ve been training which is great but as we saw on Monday they’re still quite a way off the level we would want them to be.

The more they’re involved with us then the better it would be for us moving forward.

On Stephen Humphrys…

It was a dead leg. I didn’t know at the time and I thought it was a bit more serious, either his knee or his ankle, but it was a dead leg.

As long as you stop the bleeding as early as possible then we’re hopeful of him being OK for Accrington.

On giving the youngster freedom to express themselves…

I know people will say well it’s great playing young players, which it is and I’m not afraid to do that.

What I think you’ve got to have a balance with is they will be put into positions and moments in games that they’ve never been through, no matter how many games they’ve played at youth level.

It’s a lot different, with the crowd and the Sky cameras but what you say to them is go and do what you do best. Go and play with freedom, within the team structure, but go and show people what you’re about, and I’m all for that.

It will work sometimes, but other times it won’t, and that’s where I have to balance that When you take the flack for results, that’s when you have to keep your belief in those players that they will come through like they did last week.

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