That’s the message from EDS head coach Enzo Maresca as City’s Under-21s prepare for Tuesday night’s final Papa John’s Trophy group clash away to Lincoln City (7pm).
City will travel to the LNER Stadium sitting top of Group E but with Lincoln just a point behind in second place.
Michael Appleton’s Imps have also made a fine start to the League One campaign and currently sit in fifth place in the table.
As such, the trip across to Lincolnshire promises to be another demanding but valuable step upon the learning curve for Maresca’s squad, especially as there will be an even more youthful look to the side.
But the boss says that the side will again rely on the core principles and philosophy that underpin the Elite Development Squad as a whole.
“For the Lincoln game we’ll be able to adapt as most of our players are still away on international duty,” Maresca confirmed.
“So, we will need some of the guys from the Under-18s squad.
“Maybe in terms of age it will be a bit more complicated, but the target for us remains the same.
“To win the game, to compete and to give the lads a chance to play a game against a league side.”
City will make the trip to Lincoln secure in the knowledge that, having won our first two matches in Group E, our place in the knockout stages of the tournament is already assured.
However, Maresca is eager for his players to replicate the form they showed in securing impressive victories at both Mansfield, where we triumphed 3-0, and Scunthorpe where our Under-21s went one better, emerging 4-0 victors.
And the Italian says if City achieve a positive result at Lincoln, it could have a welcome spin-off in terms of our PL2 fortunes with a key home game against Chelsea following Tuesday night’s match.
“In both games in our group so far, I think the players competed very, very well against professional teams,” Maresca added.
“After the last match away at Scunthorpe we went on and won four games in a row, so it was a good start. That helped to give us a lot of confidence.
“Fortunately, we have already qualified which is good for us as a Club but we are looking forward to a good match against Lincoln.”