The BIG Interview - Terry Westlwy

Last updated : 28 November 2004 By The Rambler

DerbyMad: It’s the FA Youth Cup coming up on Tuesday and it’s not a competition that Derby have traditionally done well in. But with the current crop of youngsters you must believe that there is a chance of achieving something now?

Terry Westley: You would like to think so. I think in the FA Youth Cup in terms of performances and that winning mentality you need your top players playing. In youth football you need your best players in the right positions. For instance I believe that if you have a top youth goalkeeper and 2 good centre backs, and strong up front to get you a goal you will always have a chance. I can remember an occasion at Luton when we got through to the quarterfinals with a team that had John Hartson in. He really carried that team on his own with his goals and got us to that stage. I haven’t had that since then really. I’ve had fits and starts in the competition at Charlton. But here you are absolutely right in your comments that the club and the team haven’t progressed in the latter stages and hopefully this year with a slice of luck we can a little better than wee have in the past.

DM: We have spoken of the fact that if you were allowed to use the Tom Huddlestones and Lee Holmeses that you could almost walk the competition. How much of that talent are you going to be able to call on?

TW: I won’t know until Monday. Me and the manager have spoken. You have to be realistic though. With the likes of Tom Huddlestone and possibly Lee being around the first team. And Tom is actually playing regularly. And that is the priority. That is what we are all here for to get them into the first team. I am fully in line with the manager with his thinking. Nathan Doyle I would think will come into our thinking and it will be the boys who have been playing reserve team football and youth team games on a Saturday morning.

DM: You would not like to pre-empt anything but you would have to assume that Grimsby do not have the same quality of youth policy as Derby, and that the Rams should progress beyond this tie.

TW: We thought that about Chester-Le-Street last year before we played them. I told my staff and the players that we would be in for a difficult game. If Grimsby have got a team full of second years and they are big and strong and powerful at youth team level you can be in for a difficult night if you can’t score a goal. We have played well enough this season. The league position would not suggest that, and a lot of my boys have played in the reserves. The one thing we have lacked is goals. We have led in 6 games this season and not been able to find a second goal. So we are finding goals hard to come by. So every game becomes difficult. And if you transfer that into Steve Taylor’s reserve team they are finding it exactly the same. I watched the game along with you at Fulham. We played well enough, and we certainly played well enough the other night against Tottenham but we just can’t get a goal. And if you can’t score you are not going to win. I have got one fear on Tuesday and that is we might not get enough goals. Hopefully they will come on the night, and we’ve got enough attacking options in the team and can put it to bed. If Grimsby score a goal early on you can see the game becoming difficult. So under no circumstances am I taking it lightly. On paper we have certainly got a better policy than Grimsby and better players but we have got to go out and prove that on Tuesday.

DM: Of course on Tuesday they won’t be coming up against the likes of Legwinski and Rebrov (who have both featured against the Rams in recent reserve matches) and that must be good experience for your players.

TW: Yes I think the boys who have played in those games, and that is where you have to look beyond results) have committed themselves and played quite well. The Fulham game away we passed it and technically we played very well. Danny Young has emerged as a solid centre-back who is reliable. Giles Barnes has gone into the team and he is only 16 – people tend to forget about that. Lewin Nyatanga is only 16. So they will play in the FA Youth Cup next year. It is great experience for them the amount of games that they are getting in the reserves and the stars that they are coming up against. But it will be a different type of match, believe you me, on Tuesday. It will be a little bit more muck and bullets. We will need to try and get the ball down and put our authority on the tie. And with the likes of Lionel Ainsworth and Ben Wilkinson we hope that we are going to have enough goals in the team to see us through.

DM: Presumably it would be nice to get a good crowd there?

TW: Yes it’s a big thing for the lads. It’s a one off and certainly it is the night that all the parents and friends of the boys come along. You would like to say to our supporters to come and see the talent that we have got. They will all be playing together. It won’t be some in the reserves and some in the youth team on a Saturday. This is the night when I will pick the strongest team available to me. We will try to win the game. Yes it is about development but this is the one competition where you do look at the result.