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Ahead of November’s international hiatus, Harsley’s young charges were in a rich vein of form, having recorded three straight wins in the league, Checkatrade Trophy and UEFA Youth League.
Tomorrow night’s trip to the East Midlands will then be followed by a crunch European assignment away to Lyon next week where City need to win to keep our hopes alive of qualifying for the knockout stages.
And Harsley says he and his players are eager to try and kick on both at home and in Europe.
“Both Leicester and Lyon are at the forefront of our minds,” said the EDS boss.
“The Leicester match will be the first game after the international break and we are really looking forward to it.
“Leicester are always one of the more physical sides in the Premier League 2. They tend to field older players, so it will be another test for our lads.
“Then the focus will immediately switch to Lyon.
“We always take each game as it comes but there will be a special focus on Lyon as we know it is a game we need to win.
“We fly out to France on the Monday and play Tuesday so it’s going to be a busy few days for us all.”
November’s break followed a 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy win at Tranmere which earned City a place in the last 32 away at Barnsley, which was immediately followed by a 3-0 league victory over Blackburn and an impressive 4-1 triumph over Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Youth League.
And though Harsley admitted he would have liked to keep the Blues’ momentum going, the brief respite has also allowed tired bodies and minds to rest and recuperate with a number of the squad’s injured personnel now on the comeback trail
“The first two international breaks this season came off the back of a poor performance, so it was nice this time to go into it on the back of some positive results and performances,” Harsley added.
“But given how we were playing, maybe we would have liked to have kept the games going.
“The other big positive is that though we’ve still got several lads who are not playing, we do have a bit of competition for places now.
“That’s not to say we didn’t have that before but now more bodies are coming back, and all the lads want to be playing.
“We will always ensure the boys get game time as that’s what we want to do – it’s not about us putting a perceived strongest 11 out, it’s about giving everybody an opportunity.
“But the lads know they want to play as much as they can so when there is more of them around it makes it more competitive.”
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