Richard Shaw praised the work rate of his Under 23 squad as they were named winners of the Professional Development League (South) with three games of their season remaining.
“I am delighted because it is a reward for the boy’s hard work, they have been doing three sessions most days and this is them getting their rewards for it. We have been around the top three for most of the season and they have been working against points targets we have set them and they have reacted well.”
The side now go into the end of season play-offs as they come up against the runners-up of the northern section on a date to be confirmed at Selhurst Park.
“It’s an extra couple of games and we must now treat it as a semi-final and an opportunity to get through to a Cup Final. The hard work isn’t done yet and we want to keep going until the end of the season and will be looking to finish off the campaign well. I always feel that if you finish one season in a lack lustre style then it becomes a continuation into next season so I always make sure the boys keep going until the final day and they will do", said Shaw as he looked forward to the youngsters getting another chance to play at Selhurst Park.
“A lot of the games have been behind closed doors this season at the training ground and its nice telling people how well they have played but they haven’t had the opportunity to see it so playing at Selhurst will be nice once again. The 23s have won the last two games there and last Friday we had a lot of youngsters in their Easter holidays watching maybe some of the next generation of the club playing and for this play-off game the support will once again be most welcome. After all their hard work the boys have deserved another chance to play at Selhurst Park and I know they will be looking forward to it".
Shaw has been proud of how some of his youngsters have been recognised by the first team management this season now having come through a difficult start to their progression on the footballing ladder twelve months ago.
“We have seen a few who have had the chance to be involved in first team squads for league or cup games and of course we had a couple that were taken on the pre-season trip as well. A Few of them also train with the first team at times through the week so it’s good to see them getting the recognition.
“It’s been a tough couple of years because last year we knew we had a group of young 2nd year scholars and it was always going to be difficult and we had to suffer losing games but in the end they have ended up better for it. This season has proved that and now this group must move on, some going out on loan and maybe make it into the first team in the future and then we will be looking at the next crop of youngsters coming through.”