Sheedy Eyes Play-Off Progress
Under-18s coach ready to face Reading in Wednesday's semi-final.
Kevin Sheedy believes Everton Under-18s face a tough battle to reach the play-off final – but he is confident the young Blues can power past familiar foes Reading on Wednesday afternoon.
By finishing third in the Elite Group, Everton have qualified for the end of season knockout phase where they play the Royals in the semi-final – the fifth occasion the two sides will have locked horns this season.
Statistics suggest there are the makings for an evenly-matched contest, with Everton recording one victory, Reading registering two wins and there being a goalless stalemate from the four previous contests.
And given the recent exchanges, Sheedy acknowledges it will be all about who performs strongest on the day.
“We know all about them [Reading] and they know about us,” Sheedy told evertonfc.com. “We've had some real close games this season.
“They're a physical side. They've got some big, strong athletic players. On the day, we both know we're capable of beating each other. It's a game we're looking forward to.”
The introduction of the new three-phase season in the Under-18s Premier League has resulted in Everton playing 28 league matches to date.
The Blues also competed four times in the FA Youth Cup after reaching the quarter-final stage.
Sheedy admits it has been a demanding year for his players, however he is calling for one last push to finish to season with silverware to show for their exertions.
“It was a great team effort and achievement to get to the semi-finals,” added Sheedy.
“It's the first season of it [the new league format]. We qualified in the first stage so to get through to this stage you have to have been really consistent.
“The run of performances we've put in with our fixture backlog, we're performed when we've had to and picked up some good victories. We're very pleased with the players' efforts.
"We've found ourselves needing to pick up points in the last couple of weeks to catch teams up. We've had a lot of games in a short space of times with a small group of players.
“We've asked a lot of them and the way they have played will put them in good stead."
Log on to evertonfc.com on Wednesday evening for a report and reaction from the semi-final tie.