Hood sacrifice friendship for long-term goals
Kyle Lightbourne, the Robin Hood coach, stood by his decision to field an inexperienced team in last night's Friendship Trophy clash with Somerset Trojans at Devonshire Recreation Club.
The former English professional striker made nine changes to his line-up from the one that hammered Trojans 4-1 in the league at the weekend.
Defending their Friendship Trophy title was clearly not a priority for Lightbourne, who choose instead to use the match to assess several fringe players who will represent the club in the Player Development League tournament over the festive period.
“We were the defending champions, but my decision was made because we've entered the PDL tournament over the Christmas period so I needed to see where some of these guys are,” Lightbourne said.
“We are going to be playing in the PDL tournament, and a lot of those guys that played tonight will get game time.”
Despite Trojans prevailing 3-0 on goals from Dion Stovell (two) and substitute Leo Burgess, Lightbourne was impressed with some of those making their first appearances at this level.
“A lot of good things came out of the game,” Lightbourne said. “Somerset won the game comfortably but some of the guys who I haven't seen in a full game I got to see.
“I got to see the young boy Andre Ivo play more, and he showed me he's got something to offer.
“Ereico Outterbridge played for us on the right side of midfield, but got a lot of energy and worked hard and these are guys playing for the first time of the club.”
Lightbourne said the other reason for his decision to make sweeping changes was to rest his regulars ahead of Sunday's crucial Premier Division clash away to North Village.
“We have a big game on Sunday as well, so for us to play Thursday, and Sunday is asking a lot,” he said.
“If the game was on a Tuesday or a Wednesday we would have had more recovery time.
“Last year when we played in this Christmas tournament it took a lot out of my team. I remember we played New Year's Day, which was on a Friday, and then turned around and played Somerset on the Sunday, which took its toll on you.”