Everton Under-23s will be looking to making it three consecutive wins in the Premier League 2 when they travel to Pride Park to face Derby County on Monday evening.
The young Blues head into the clash full of confidence following a 3-0 away triumph over Chelsea and a 4-1 triumph against Tottenham Hotspur in their last two outings.
Coach David Unsworth says he has been impressed with the manner in which his new-look side has adapted to his way of training and playing and has challenged his youngsters to continue their momentum in Derbyshire.
“We got into every game with a plan and the mindset of trying to win,” he told evertonfc.com. “When we go over the previous game the next day with the players and staff, we quickly move on to our next opponents and decide how we’re going to set up, how we’re going to train in the build-up and how we look to win the game.
“We played Derby last year and we had two really tough games against them. We got a last-minute winner and a massive win against them at Pride Park at the end of last season. It was a really tough game, we were 2-0 down at half-time and had to change things around. We managed to turn it around and that’s what title winners do.
“They play a lot of games at Pride Park which I think is fantastic for their boys and great credit must go to the club for doing that. We’re really looking forward to the game.
“I know [Derby coach] Darren Wassall very well. He’s a good guy, a good coach and it’ll be a tough game for us, especially with them having one or two first-teamers playing. We’re very young tonight, so it’ll be a great experience for them.”
It was a busy summer for the Under-23s, with Boris Mathis, Josh Bowler, Anton Donkor, Dennis Adeniran, Nathangelo Markelo and Lewis Gibson all added to Unsworth’s squad, while eight players heading out on loan spells in the Championship.
“Jamie Hoyland, one of our scouts, watched one of our training sessions for the first time in around six weeks and he said he saw a massive improvement,” added Unsworth. “The new players who have come in are learning how we want to play and actually seeing and adapting to the tempo we train at, which is probably higher than their previous clubs. They’re getting used to it and it takes a little bit of time to get up to speed, but I’ve been delighted with the lads’ effort and application. As always, this group has been great.
“It’s also great to see eight [Everton Under-23s] players out on loan in the Championship. That’s a great next step for them in their development.
“From the start of the season to where we are now, we’re all delighted with what is happening.”