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30 April 2018

Nick Chadwick says Latics breeding winning mentality at Christopher Park and Wednesday’s final is a great opportunity for his players.

  • Wigan Athletic under-18s coach Nick Chadwick on Wednesday night’s EFL Youth Alliance Cup final at Luton Town
  • Latics face the Hatters at Kenilworth Road on Wednesday 2 May, kick-off 7pm
  • Chadwick: “I expect it to be a good experience for the boys; they’ll go away to a Stadium like Kenilworth Road and hopefully shine on the day and round off a terrific season so far for the boys.”

Wigan Athletic’s under-18 coach Nick Chadwick says Wednesday’s EFL Youth Alliance Cup final at Luton Town is a by-product of the winning mentality instilled into the players over at Christopher Park.

Latics’ under-18s face the first of two upcoming cup finals on Wednesday night at Kenilworth Road (kick-off 7pm), with their Lancashire FA Youth Cup final with Preston North End still awaiting full details confirmation.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Chadwick said:

“It is important for us an academy that we have successful teams because we want a winning mentality across all of the age groups and all of the players.

“For us as an under-18s team, there is a chance to get something at the end of the season in terms of trophies.

“The most important aspect is always the development of the players and how far they have come in their own personal development as young footballers and young men.

“The fact we are in two Cup finals and we’re sat top of the EFL Youth Alliance is good evidence of the positive work that has been going on and how far the players have come.

“It’s a good mark of where we are at; I would be extremely disappointed if, at the level we are at, we didn’t have players who were hungry to be at the top of the league and striving to get in cup finals.

“We have some excellent young footballers across the age groups at the academy. In this year’s under-18s we have had some exciting individual performances, which has contributed to being a good team.

“The boys’ behaviour and discipline has been good and that’s positive because they will need that further on in their careers. We have probably sneaked a result in a couple of games this season and the players have been consistently reminded of the standards that are set here at Wigan Athletic.

“We don’t shy away from the fact we want a winning mentality and a winning culture; as professional footballers potentially in the future, it’s important that they like winning and don’t like losing.”

On the final itself, Chadwick added the experience of a big game at a professional stadium is one not to take for granted for his players.

“The second-years in the building now have had two fantastic seasons and this is going to be the second season in which they have been in the EFL Youth Alliance National final,” he continued.

“You have to be a good team to get into the final of this competition because there are so many hurdles to jump to get there.

“We are confident, though, we can go there and play our normal game as we have all season.

“I expect it to be a good experience for the boys; they’ll go away to a Stadium like Kenilworth Road and hopefully shine on the day and round off a terrific season so far for the boys.

“I think opportunities like this are great for their development; I think when they move up to the first team, nothing should surprise or faze them. They have had good experiences this season; a lot of the boys were involved against Accrington Stanley, Middlesbrough and Blackpool in the Checkatrade Trophy.”

Wednesday’s game will be a fitting finale for some of Latics’ second-year scholars, who have been informed they won’t be offered professional deals with the club.

And Chadwick says there is a determination to go out on a high.

“It’s the worst day of the year,” Chadwick explained. “To have to tell certain individuals they won’t be offered a professional contract despite doing so well and having done everything that has been asked of them [is tough].

“It is a chance to go out on a high for the boys that will be leaving us and equally an opportunity to showcase themselves in a high-profile game.”

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