Rob Edwards insists Wolves Under-23s are relishing battling on four fronts this season – just like the first team.
The youngsters are playing in Premier League 2 Division 1, the International Cup for the first time, the renamed Leasing.com Trophy (Checkatrade last season) and Premier League 2 League Cup this season. And just like Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, their campaign is hectic.
After league games away to Manchester City this Saturday then at home to Arsenal on Friday September 20, Edwards’s side will embark on their journey in the Leasing.com Trophy on Tuesday, September 24 when they travel to Carlisle. The M6 North is set to become a well-worn route by the Under-23s as they will also be travelling to face Morecambe and Blackpool away on Tuesday, October 1 and Tuesday, November 5 respectively in completing a spell of five games in 17 days.
A mouthwatering week follows soon after in November as they play Paris Saint Germain (Wednesday 20th), Chelsea (Saturday 23rd) and Athletic Bilbao Wednesday 27th), all at home.
“We’re in four competitions, so I’d love to have a good run in something, and be challenging in something because it (last season’s achievement) was a great feeling for the lads and all of the staff to win something; it was fantastic,” said Edwards. “We’re going to have a go in all of them.
“The Checkatrade Trophy was great last year – they were arguably our best games. We were close in all of them and they were tough matches. I’m sure it will be similar again this year.
“The International Cup is a new competition for us – PSG at Molineux, how good is that?! That week goes PSG, Chelsea a few days later and then Athletic Bilbao, so all the best with that! Let’s go! It’s a great challenge and one we’re looking forward to.”
Edwards is convinced the players will only learn from playing against some of the best young talent in the world as they look to match a step up in opposition following promotion last season.
“I hope so and I think we will as well,” he said. “I think there’s definitely a step up, 100 per cent, but that was the whole reason for getting here in the first place, to give the boys the best challenge posssible.
“We’re all on a bit of a learning journey. We don’t know loads about the opposition and Under-23s football changes as well on a yearly basis. We have had a few go out on loan and a few have moved on.
“It’s a bit different to the first team where you know more about them. So I think once everyone has played a few games, we’ll get to know them even more.”
Wolves have won one and drawn one of their first four games to lie 10th in the table out of 12 teams. Edwards believes they will find their feet and not be struggling as the season wears on.
“I don’t want to sound negative by saying we want to be in the division next year, because that sounds like we’re just trying to survive and I don’t feel like we will be in that position,” he added.
“I want to see an identity – which I think you can see from us – and I want us to compete in every game, which we’ve done so far. If we do that, then who knows what we can achieve?”
“Last year was about trying to get promoted. We can’t get promoted this season, but we’ve mixed it in the first two games, so let’s just see.”