Gareth Taylor says he is already hugely excited about the way City’s Under-18s squad is shaping up ahead of the new season.

After a memorable campaign last year that saw City’s youngsters lift the Under-18 Premier League Cup and reach the final of the FA Youth Cup, Taylor and his coaching staff will be working with a new-look group this term.

With several players having graduated to the Elite Development Squad and a number of new players having joined us in the summer, it means there will be a different make-up to the squad.

But though several faces may have changed, the underlying aims and philosophy of the group remain the same.

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“We want to improve on our league position from last season and we want to arrive again in finals and in the Youth Cup we want to go one better but it’s not easy,” said Taylor.

“The most important thing is that they play in the right way as the performance is really important to me and to us and everything falls into place off the back of that and our standards as a group.

“There’s a good feel about the group and I think there is an excellent mix in there.

“Even at the back-end of last season I was really excited about the way the squad was shaping up and what was coming for this season and there is some real talent there.

“There are lads I’ve known for a while since they were in the Under-12s, a few players that I worked with last season in small doses and some new signings as well,” the Under-18s boss added.

“On top of that, we’ve retained four second year apprentices from last year to compliment the group so it’s all positive.

“There is a really strong spine– they have high standards and have already been really receptive about what we’re trying to do.

“In all our meetings so far, we’re putting a big emphasis on the team. The team is all important and everyone has to play their part in being part of the group.

“We’re a young group but it’s great and if there’s an acceptance to learn and improve – which there is – then you have a chance. So far, we’ve been really pleased.”

Though the Under-18s group have only been together less than a month since returning for pre-season, the boss said he had been hugely excited by the way the squad are gelling together.

And he said he was excited at the way the new arrivals will enhance the quality already evident in the group who spent last week at a training camp in Croatia along with our EDS squad.

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“The new lads have settled well and that can only happen when you have a decent group that invites them in as there is a lot to take in when you come in to a new club – especially a club the size of ours - in terms of getting to know the staff, settling in where you live and what have you,” Taylor added.

“Sam Edozie has come from Millwall and it will be different environment for him, Liam Delap has come from Derby, another team that was really strong last season while Oscar Bobb and Oscar Tarensi have also joined us from overseas.

Oscar Tarensi has come from Espanyol in Spain so a lot of things will be different compared to living in Barcelona!

Oscar Bobb has come from Valarenga over in Norway, so there will be different levels of stepping up for him as well.

“All our lads are fortunate as it’s a great place to be – and there’s a lot of ways for them to improve. They are a real solid group and we are looking forward to seeing how they progress this season.”