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Interview: First Team Familiarities for Academy’s Broe

First Team Manager Adam Lakeland’s similar instructions in a familiar role for Oliver Broe have helped the defender’s transition into the senior squad, writes Ben Swain.

Right wing-back Broe received a call from Lakeland, after the U23s’ West Riding County Cup quarter-final 5-3 victory vs Pontefract Collieries, confirming the 19-year-old’s call-up, joining fellow academy player Louis Fialdini.

A first senior assist, in only his second game for the senior squad, followed for Broe as he was brought down in the Thackley box, with Will Hayhurst converting the penalty in a 4-0 victory.

“It’s the same formation [in the first team], so it’s very similar in the way they play. They like to get the ball wide and get crosses in so that obviously suits my style of play as well,” explained Broe.

“He [Lakeland] said to me he likes players who can do the basics really well and he said he was impressed with the way I can just decide whether to go forward or just keep the ball normally.

“It was after the quarter-final match for the under 23s, I knew the manager [Lakeland] was watching the game and I’d had a good game that night.

“The next morning, Neil [Ross] rang me and said the manager was watching and was impressed and after that, the manager rang me himself the day later and said he was impressed, liked my type of play and how it suited the style they play in the first-team. So he said, ‘we’re looking to get you in in pre-season and see how you do’.

“I remember picking the ball up quite deep and then I played a pass forward and I remember carrying my run on and thinking ‘keep going to support the attack while you can’.

“I remember getting slipped through and getting a positive first touch in behind. I thought I was going to score, to be honest with you, so I was a bit disappointed to be brought down, but obviously, I was glad Will could score the penalty to get me the assist.”

“He (Adam Lakeland) did say, when I came on, ‘enjoy yourself, go and express yourself, play with no fear and just be positive on the ball’ which is what I tried to do. When I came on I got a few crosses in and tried to support the attack whilst also, as I said, being solid at the back.

Broe admits the step-up in physicality has been a challenge whilst his feedback from Lakeland has been encouraging.

“He said my attitude is good. He’s also commented on my passing and my intelligence on the ball.

“In training, I’m trying to show I’ve got that nasty side to me. He wants intensity on and off the ball and he’s big on his pressing – don’t let them turn.

“It’s definitely a jump up physicality wise. Some of the players in the team are big lads and it’s a big test trying to compete with them in training. But I think I’ve handled myself well and that experience of playing against men definitely helps you to adapt when you’re playing.”

It’s two wins out of two for Broe and the first-team so far during pre-season, with the third scheduled match postponed due to a COVID-19 issue within the Scunthorpe United team.

“The first few minutes of that first game I think just caught us on our heels a bit. But now we’ve got our form, we haven’t conceded since then and we’ve been pretty effective with some free-flowing attacking as well.”

The defender from Liverpool has built up a close friendship with one of the trialists in the squad, also a wing-back, but joked he won’t let anyone distract him from attempting to make the first team.

“I think it was just a case of we were both new into the team. All the lads are really nice but coming to a new club, new surroundings, you want to find someone you’re close with. And he’s a really good lad, a really good player, in a similar position, so it’s obviously relatable between me and him.

“He’s a good lad and all but when it comes to getting that shirt – there are no friends in football are there?”

Broe admitted he was included in the squad that was supposed to play Scunthorpe in the postponed fixture and will be doing his usual extra work to keep himself fit, including the team outing to footgolf, ready for the friendly vs Albion Sports at the Citadel tonight.

“Eating well is the key. In this weather, hydrating is key as well.

“Tuesday’s footgolf and then the game is on Thursday, so in my own time I can do a few bits in the gym or go on runs and stuff, what I normally do to tick over.”

Tickets for tonight’s game are available at the gate – Adults: £5, Concessions: £3

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