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Goodison Mini-Derby Excites Stubbs

Reserve team coach says stadium experience will be different.

Goodison Mini-Derby Excites Stubbs

Alan Stubbs believes playing the mini-derby at Goodison Park will be a good learning experience for Everton's youngsters.

The second string will make a rare run-out at the stadium when they take on rivals Liverpool for the second time in a fortnight on Tuesday (kick off 2pm).

Last month's spirited encounter at the Reds' Kirkby Academy ended in a 1-1 draw but Stubbs says the magnitude of playing at Goodison makes this an altogether different prospect for his players.

"It will be different because that's something which is new to us,” he told evertonfc.com. “It should be good for the players to play at Goodison for this type of game.

"I think from a mentality point of view it will be different for the players because they're playing at the stadium. I think sometimes playing at the training ground can give the players a feeling of familiarity and sometimes can make it not feel like a proper game at times.

"So I think the whole procedure of turning up at the stadium and arriving at a big venue will make it feel more important.

"It'll be good experience for the younger players and their development and that's one of the reasons we tried to explore playing at Goodison. The fact that it's Liverpool obviously puts more emphasis on it but we're hoping to play a few more games at the stadium in the future to make them aware and more familiar with it in the event that they do step up to the first team."

Following last week's 2-2 draw against Bolton, Everton's reserves will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run to six games.

November's 2-1 reverse against Wigan was the second string's last defeat and Stubbs is challenging his side to keep their good form going for the remainder of the campaign.

"We've put a little bit of a run together recently and I'm hoping they can maintain that," he said. "From the players' point of view, I'd like to see them go unbeaten between now and the end of the season if possible. That's a tall order but I don't see any reason why they can't. They've been playing some good football at times."

Despite seeing his side throw away a two-goal lead against the Trotters, Stubbs took a number of positives from last week’s clash, not least the debut performance of Portugal Under-21 international Francisco Junior.

The Guinea-Bissau born former Benfica starlet displayed some neat touches on his first outing in an Everton shirt and impressed his coach with the way he slotted in.

"I thought he did really well," said Stubbs. "He kept it simple at times, he made good runs - one of which culminated in us scoring - and it's still early days for him. It's a new style of football that he's getting used to but I thought he did some really good things. He's got a few bits to work on, which we knew would be the case with a new player coming to the Club, but there were some positive signs."

As for coming up against Liverpool as a coach, Stubbs admits he still gets gets excited about derby day, adding: "I always look forward to the game, whether it's Liverpool, Manchester United, whoever. 

"It's different for me because I'm responsible for the whole team now whereas as a player you're in charge of your own destiny.

"But, yes, I'm really looking forward to the game. It's always nice to play Liverpool and even nicer to get a result against them.

"But I'm not going to tempt fate at this moment in time, we'll just see what Tuesday brings and take it from there."

Everton Reserves' game against Liverpool kicks off at Goodison Park at 2pm on Tuesday. Supporters are welcome to attend the game. For ticket information, click here.

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