Pearce: 'We'll be ready for the challenge'


Jason Pearce says his U18s are relishing the challenge of facing Barnsley in the Professional Development League 2 play-off final.

Saturday will see the PDL2-North champions and the PDL2-South champions lock horns at Oakwell for the right to be crowned national champions.

The young Tykes edged the last meeting between the two sides in April at their South Yorkshire training ground.

“We went up there not so long ago actually and lost 3-2," said Pearce. "They’re a very direct, physical team that play on the front foot. They put a lot of bodies to the topline and make it really difficult for you to play.

“This week we’ve focused on what they do and how we can stop them. If we can stop their direct play and deal with those first and second contacts well then I feel like we’ve got players that can really, really hurt them on the transition. In possession I think we can hurt them and there’s areas to exploit in the way that they play. We’ve focused on that and we’ll be ready for the challenge, for sure.”

Asked what it would mean to guide his U18s to a first national title in five years, the 35-year-old explained: “It would mean a lot. It’s a special group of players this year. For me, working with them all season and working with a lot of them before when they were U16s as well, I can see how good they are and the potential that they have to get into our first team and play professionally.

"It would be fantastic for all of them to achieve something special, which would show everyone how good they are and also show themselves how good they are. They’ve been outstanding.

"Whatever happens, it will still be a fantastic season, but it would be good to cap it off with a double.”

Fans can watch every kick of this weekend's action from Oakwell live on CharltonTV (12pm KO BST). Click here to purchase your live stream match pass.

“It’s great for the fans to see what players are coming through," Pearce added. "We’ve got a history of bringing players through to the first team, especially in quite recent years. It’d be great for them to watch on CharltonTV, just to support the players and help them over the line.”

Charlton fans can support the academy by signing up to the Valley Gold scheme. Valley Gold enables fans to support the club’s academy in unearthing the talents of tomorrow, as well as giving them the chance to win cash prizes.

Click here for more information on how you can become a Valley Gold member.

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