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We Need Sharpening: Stone

U23s' boss wants goals to flow again following cup success

14 January 2019

Steve Stone wants his team to sharpen their cutting edge after easing into the semi-finals of the Lancashire FA Senior Cup.

The Clarets were never troubled on the way to a 1-0 win over Fleetwood Town to set up a last-four clash against Everton or Rochdale.

But they needed an own-goal from Town defender Cian Bolger to get there and after failing to score a goal of their own for a third game running, Stone wants to see possession turned into goalscoring opportunities.

“Defensively we look okay, and it’s been like that in a lot of games,” said the Under-23s’ boss.

“But on the attacking side we’ve got to do better in terms of, one, getting the widemen involved in the game and, two, the widemen have to really start producing better balls into the box.

“Tunde (Bayode, above) was excellent in terms of his work-rate, his movement and getting in behind. Now the one criticism is, can he deliver some quality final balls into the box?

“We counted he put 12 crosses in and as a coach you’re delighted with that.

“Marley (Blair, below), on the other side, only got two in and he needs to deliver more than that.

“That’s what a wideman’s job is, to deliver balls into the box; shots and crosses into the box.

“Marley needs to deliver more than that, but he knows that.”

The Clarets are the highest scorers in the northern group of the U23 Professional Development League but have gone off the boil since the Christmas break – losing back-to-back games.

And Stone knows they will need to raise their game when they take on group leaders Bournemouth in the Premier League Cup at Curzon Ashton on Friday afternoon.

“High up the pitch we need to be more clinical as well,” he added.

“We need too many chances to win a game and at top level you need one or two and the ball is in the back of the net.

“They have to get this, but they worked really hard and are back on a winning streak which is always important as a mentality thing.

“Now they go into Friday and another really big game and a tough one against Bournemouth, where they will have to show a different kind of mettle, because they will come at us and we will have to be ready for that.”

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