Rotherham United Lead Professional Development Phase Coach Rob Poulter believes the chance to play at AESSEAL New York Stadium in tomorrow’s EFL Youth Alliance Cup final will be vital for the development of the academy players.
The Millers will take on AFC Wimbledon on home soil, in the final of the 2019/20 competition, which was delayed following the covid-19 outbreak and subsequent curtailment of the campaign.
With the showpiece final being played later than originally scheduled, it means that there will be some new faces in the side that will take on the Dons tomorrow and Poulter stressed that reaching the final has been a huge collective squad effort.
“Some of the players from last year have moved on and we’ve got some new faces in, so it’s a massive collective effort that has got us here and the effort of everyone will not be forgotten.
“It’s been an effort over a longer period of time because of the COVID-19 situation but the fact we’re getting to play this final is a good thing for us and the players understand the importance of the game.
“It’s all about the players tomorrow, it’s a great opportunity for them to play at AESSEAL New York Stadium, it’ll be a fantastic experience for them and of course, they have an opportunity to win silverware."
“We know it’s not going to be easy against AFC Wimbledon, they’ve been in great form recently and we know they will be a tough challenge. We’ve put the preparations in place for tomorrow and it’s going to be a good day and a great occasion.
“It’s brilliant that we’re going to get the experience playing at our home stadium, but we want to win the game. A big part of development alongside developing technically and tactically is psychologically. This is a one-off game and we want to win it.
“It’s about who turns up and the day and anything can happen, so in that sense we want to go in with the right mindset. The opportunity for them to play at a stadium is massive in their development because it is something that they are striving to do in their careers.”
The final will take place behind-closed-doors at AESSEAL New York Stadium, which sadly means that supporters will not be permitted to attend the fixture.
However, following an agreement between the two clubs and the EFL, Rotherham United will be streaming the fixture live, for free, on our YouTube channel, giving parents, supporters and players who played a part last season the opportunity to watch the game.
“Parents have not been able to watch any of our games this season because of Covid-19 protocols and that is a real shame. They play a massive part in every players life by bringing them to training and supporting them through everything.
“We don’t underestimate the part that they play. Obviously, we wish that they could join us tomorrow, but the opportunity they will get to watch the game on YouTube is fantastic.
Of course, it’s not the same as being there but it’s not a bad alternative in the current climate and we hope that everyone will enjoy it as much as they can.”