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Issott Delighted With U21s

30 April 2015

Development Side boss Gary Issott has spoken about his squad's impressive displays this season, securing top spot in the Professional Development League Two with a game to go.

In that game, at home to Colchester United, the Eagles ground out a 1-0 win, despite the visitors defensive solidity and tight formation, which pleased Issott. 

Issott insisted that complacency had not set into his side, even though it was a low scoring match, as positions could be up for grabs for their upcoming Play Off clash with Huddersfield Town.

"Today the lads were trying to secure their places in the starting line-up for the big game against Huddersfield. I don’t think there was any complacency, I think what we came across in Colchester was a team who were full of trialists, who were trying to earn contracts and were desperately working hard," he said. 

"It was a team that sat deep and proved difficult to break down. It’s never easy when teams come and sit in and you don’t score early, because it gives them extra fight and extra belief in what they’re doing." 

In the end, Palace got the job done, having tried several times to probe their way through the Colchester defence, they made a breakthrough well into the second half.

Keshi Anderson's direct, powerful run at the opposition drew them out and he was able to slot a neat ball through to left-back Christian Scales, who finished coolly.

"We finally broke the deadlock with about twenty minutes to go," said Issott. "Keshi Anderson did really well, slipped in Christian Scales, who finished smartly. 

"It gave us a chance to look at some of the youngsters."

Michael Phillips, who recently made the leap up from U18s to U21s and has impressed at the higher level, started the game in an attacking role - despite featuring at right-back in the game before - putting in a good performance.

Issott claimed that the youngsters who had featured were all in contention for squad places against Huddersfield.

"They’ve certainly done themselves no harm today," he said. "It was a pleasing performance from Michael, the only reason we took him off was because of a bit of tiredness creeping in. Aaron Bissaka came on and did very well, Kian Flanagan had two good chances – which is important to him, getting into areas where he gets chances – and overall, we had a look at some of the youngsters and it was a good workout, before the big test next week."

As well as the youngsters, a number of loaned out players could return in time to feature against Huddersfield, with the likes of Sullay Kaikai and Jerome Binnom-Williams potentially being available. 

Issott did not know whether they would end up playing, but suggested that it was an option for the crunch Play Off fixture,saying: "That remains to be seen, there’s a lot of things to be considered when making that decision, but we’ll see what happens. When those players come back, they may feature."

He said that he had been pleased with the season as a whole, from the success of those that earned the Eagles top spot to the players who went out on loan to garner greater experience of senior level football. Midfielder Hiram Boateng was also named by Issott as one of the real stars of the Development Side, having come into his own in 2015.

"It’s been pleasing in terms of the fact that we’ve had four or five lads go out on loan and do well," he said. 

"The lads that have remained at the club have worked their socks off and to win a league, at any professional level, is hard work and it takes a lot of consistency. I think all the boys deserve a lot of credit for that. The ones that haven’t been out on loan have kept themselves going and their performing to a high level. 

"There have been some fantastic results and performances along the way. Recently, the 3-0 win away at QPR, facing a side that had Taarabt, Faurlin, McCarthy and Junior Hoilett, was a fantastic performance. The players deserve all the credit and they’ve done really well all season. 

"I think Hiram Boateng, since Christmas, has really pushed on and become one of the stand-out players in the group."




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