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8 September 2020

Mark Molesley said that he and his side learnt plenty of lessons this evening as they were handed a 3-1 defeat by West Ham United u21s in the EFL Trophy at Roots Hall.

Two spectacular goals shared between the sides got the game going with brilliant strikes from Ademipo Odubeko and Stephen Humphrys splitting the two teams at the break.

Odubeko scored a well-taken second late on before Conor Coventry looped in the Hammers’ third and after the final whistle had blown, Molesley gave us his thoughts on the defeat.

On the Trophy defeat…

“There were some harsh lessons for us to learn again and some brutal moments for us, but that’s what we need at the moment. We’re continuing to learn and we’ve had to manage the group in this game being so early on in pre-season and having played Saturday, so it gave us a good chance to look at all of the squad and to use the depth of the squad to its maximum.

“We’ve had a good look at everyone, we’ve learnt a lot of lessons and for that youthful side that we put out there today. That’s what they need on their journey, they need to be learning. There are certainly some positive parts and there are some bits that we need to improve on.

“We’re still in build-phase, it’s still early days. There’s plenty of positives – Nathan Ralph completing 45 minutes after a long time out – and we got to build on the fitness of the lads that didn’t play on Saturday. We’re looking to improve all the time and we’re learning every day, and as long as the lads keep showing the right attitude and application we’ll keep continuing to learn and grow as a group.”

On his side going into Saturday’s league opener…

“I think we’ve got a strong idea of what we’ll be playing [against Harrogate], but we’re also fairly limited at the moment with a few injuries and squad size. We’ve certainly got an idea but there’s always space, nothing’s final, and we’ve got some good options and we’ve got some good food for thought from today as well.

“[The squad] could do with a couple of additions. They have got to be the right character and the right attitude, and they’ve got to fit within the remit of the club. We’ll certainly look to add value anywhere we can. We’re looking to build something here and to do that you’ve got to have the right characters around.

“At the moment our squad size is at its maximum for the embargo rules so it’s a little bit difficult at the moment but hopefully that’ll change. We’ll assess each situation as it arises – at the moment we’re happy to work with this group and we’re looking forward to working with this group. We’re excited by it and we’ve got to continue to keep showing that attitude to keep wanting to improve.”

On the return of Ralph…

“That’s a massive positive today to get him through 45 minutes. Everyone would have loved to see him play a lot longer, but we cannot take that risk. As I say, we had to manage the group tonight, we couldn’t take any unnecessary risks. I would love to, but with just three weeks in pre-season and the previous injury record, we’ve got a lot of things to take into account at the moment. With that comes lots of opportunities and it’s another good workout for our young group here that got to get out and have a run out again.  

“We’re starting to get some of the more experienced lads back in and around the group which will be pivotal for us. We’ve got that balance [between youth and experience] but unfortunately, some of them are nursing injuries or had previous injuries before our regime that after five months out have stood still a little bit. We’re trying to get the cogs moving on those ones again as we’ve got a very youthful side here. There’s plenty to work with and we’ll continue to work hard every day to do the best we can.”

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