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Retain belief in what we're doing

Clark hoping for change in fortunes for under 18s against York

13 October 2017

Simon Clark is hoping to see a shift in mentality from Notts County's under 18s when they face York City this weekend.

The young Magpies have lost their last three fixtures and Clark believes a mental steel is needed from the players to pull them out of the rut they find themselves in.

"We've had three disappointing results but performance levels have really pleased us in some cases," he said.

"It's about trying to retain the belief in what we're doing. Performances have been reasonable but we're still very young at the back and conceding too many goals at key times.

"We've taken the lead in matches recently but we've still lost. It's about the will and desire to stop conceding goals to help us win matches.

"We're trying to galvanise the players because it's a massive part of the game. When you're a lot younger than the other squads you're facing and you're struggling to win games it becomes more difficult. You can start hiding in games but we've asked them to think about their mentality."

Training took on a different look this week with the hope it will spark a response to get back to winning ways against the Minstermen.

"We went to Wollaton Hall and went old-school with the lads," Clark revealed. "We spoke to the first-team staff and mirrored what they had done with the senior professionals.

"The lads were excellent. There was no ball work involved because we wanted to change it up a little bit and they responded well."

The lead professional development phase coach says it has been difficult to maintain a positive mindset within such a young set of players, with many of the squad playing above their age group.

"It's a challenge to keep their confidence up," he admitted. "In games we have been dominating the ball and playing really well but when we get that first knockback we don't respond well enough.

"If they make one mistake they have to ensure their next action isn't another mistake. It's about having the mentality to get back on track after making an error. If that doesn't happen, you end up in a downward spiral.

"If five or six of the players are like that then you're going to struggle to mount a comeback in games.

"They have to stick together, work harder and make better decisions."

Youngsters Curtis Hall and Jordon Richards embarked on new loan spells this week. Click here for more information.

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