Rob Edwards admits tonight’s final Under-23s league game of the season has a cup final feel about it as Wolves can win the league title.
Wolves will be crowned the Premier League 2 Division Two champions and will gain automatic promotion if they beat Manchester United at Leigh Sports Village tonight, providing second-placed Reading fail to beat Stoke away by 11 clear goals and Southampton don’t beat Sunderland at home by 12 clear goals.
“We know what’s at stake but it’s important we try to treat it like any other game, but at the same time knowing it’s not like any other game,” said coach Edwards.
“It’s almost a bit of a cup final. We know the situation that if we do get the win and we do get the three points.
“It’s good for the lads at this stage of their careers, because we want them to learn how to win games and deal with pressure and this will be a higher-pressure game.”
Edwards believes facing such a big club as United is the ideal opposition for his side.
“You couldn’t have asked for a better tie to go into your final game than Manchester United away,” he added. “They’ve got some wonderful individuals, some really good players, some players who’ve had first-team experience this season – a little bit more so under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in recent months.
“We know the task at hand, but at the same time our players have got to be confident – they’re top of the league for a reason, and that’s because they’ve been consistently good all season long.
“We’ve got to go there with confidence while respecting the opposition, because we know it’s going to be a real challenge.”
The players are fully aware of what is at stake and Edwards’s message is simply not to leave anything out on the pitch.
“We’ve got to make sure we give everything. The messages are now to stick together, it’s focus, work hard, stick to the game plan, and if the performance is right, everything else will come off the back of that,” he said.
“Don’t leave anything out there. Don’t come off that pitch thinking what if, or I could have done a little bit more – that’s going to be the key message.”
Edwards added: “It’s gone right down to the wire, which it probably always was going to, and what a great game for us.
“It’s at Leigh, where I think they play the majority of their home fixtures. It’s a really good facility – I’ve been there a couple of times to watch games there this season and it’s a good ground and it will be a good game. It always is against Manchester United.”
Wolves received a pre-match boost with the news defender or wing back Cameron John and striker Niall Ennis were declared fit for the game. Both had recovered from hamstring injuries.
“We tried not to put a date on it in case the lads didn’t make that and then they would have been disappointed,” added Edwards. “They’ve done everything they can and the staff did everything they could to get them right.”