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U18s with positive start to pre-season

Full-back Charlie Seaman in action for the Bournemouth under-21s.

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Under-18s manager Alan Connell says his squad's first two matches of pre-season have shown positive signs for the season ahead.

On Tuesday the youth team earned a comprehensive 3-0 win away at Category One side Swansea City, a result which came off the back of a narrow 4-3 loss to Watford on Saturday.

Talking to afcb.co.uk, Connell spoke about the positives that have emerged from his team's first week of friendly matches.

"We had a long journey to Swansea, turning up at a Category One club," explained the former Cherries player.

"From the first minute we moved the ball really quickly, which was something we'd spoken about as a group.

"The team passed the ball well, created numerous chances and looked like scoring each time they went forward.

"To keep a clean sheet as well was pleasing, and a reward for all the hard work that the boys have put in over the last two and half weeks of pre-season.

"Before that, Watford was our first pre-season game and it was good to get minutes under the belts, though it was tough with so may changes taking place.

"There were a lot of positives, we've done a lot of work on our defensive shape and there was evidence of that shown on Saturday, while pushing forwards we also looked positive.

"It's been an encouraging start and now we're looking ahead to the next games."

The next outing for the under-18s sees them join the under-21s for a trip to Fulham on Saturday, with the two sides playing two separate matches against their Fulham counterparts.

The squad have also been in St George's Park during their pre-season build up, with Connell speaking about the learning curve experienced, especially for the younger players in his side.

"It's been a tough introduction for some of the first years with a full time pre-season programme. They've had to get used to that, which they have," he said.

"We went to St George's Park last week for an intense three days. It was good to get them on quality training pitches but also to get all the first and second year players integrated and for me to see them up close in a more scrutinised environment.

"As a club it shows that we're moving forwards and that's really helpful in the players' development and giving them a taste of what they could get used to going forwards."

The under-18s are sponsored by Strategic Solutions.

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