Coach Alan Connell is backing his AFC Bournemouth under-18s to give him a positive reaction after their standards slipped during their FA Youth Cup win over Barnet on Wednesday.
Although the Cherries edged a 4-3 victory in the third-round clash at Vitality Stadium, Connell was hugely disappointed with their second-half showing against the Bees.
Christian Saydee’s double and goals from Harvey Bertrand and Luke Pardoe saw the Cherries reach the break leading 4-0, only for the visitors to hit back with three goals in eight minutes early in the second half.
Connell’s young guns could take a big step towards securing the EFL Youth Alliance South West Division title when they visit sixth-placed Yeovil Town tomorrow (11am).
The Cherries are currently six points ahead of Oxford United – with both teams having four games remaining – and ten in front of Portsmouth who have seven matches left.
Connell’s young guns head to Somerset on the back of a seven-game winning run in all competitions, a sequence which has seen them plunder 34 goals.
The boss told afcb.co.uk: “I will be interested to see our reaction to the disappointing second half on Wednesday.
“The players know how much belief I have in them and I am really looking forward to watching us play.
“If we show the character and desire that I know we have, I am confident we will put in a good performance.
“We have spoken about the Barnet game and I made it quite clear about the standards I expect and what’s required at this football club.
“I’m happy we went through but the performance level wasn’t what this group is capable of.
“We’re going to need to be better as we move forward, starting tomorrow at Yeovil.
“We’ve scored a lot of goals and haven’t conceded too many which is always a good mix to have. We’ve also been consistent.
“It’s difficult with young players to get consistency but the boys, generally, have been.
“That’s why I was disappointed on Wednesday because we dipped below the standards we have set recently.
“We’re coming towards the end of this programme of games in the Youth Alliance before we start the Merit League and it’s important we finish this stage strongly.
“Yeovil are in good form so we’re expecting a tough game.”
Leading goalscorer Saydee could be a doubt after being forced off during the closing stages against Barnet after suffering an ankle injury.