Radhi Jaïdi has called on his young Saints to be inspired by the progress and first-team involvement of Michael Obafemi and Yan Valery ahead of their PL Cup meeting with Notts County on Wednesday.
Obafemi and Valery made their first senior starts in the Carabao Cup against Leicester on Tuesday night – the latter making his first appearance of any kind at that level – and they were opportunities born from the relentless work behind the scenes at Staplewood Campus.
“It’s the work of everyone, not just the coaches,” Jaïdi said before his team’s meeting with the Magpies. “The whole club has been involved in developing these boys. It’s so pleasing to see guys like Michael in the first-team squad as well as the Irish national team.
“We always encourage the boys to see that perspective and hopefully perform well when they get the opportunity. We will keeping pushing the boys and it’s really good for the rest to see the example set here by Michael and Yan; we want them to use it as a reference to work hard and make the same opportunity for themselves.”
The Tunisian’s squad will look to build on that momentum in the north Midlands on Wednesday afternoon where a win will put them in the driving seat in their PL Cup group, which also contains Leeds and Newcastle.
An all-but complete performance at Norwich in the PL2 last week has given coach Jaïdi plenty of cause for optimism going into the game at Ilkeston Town’s New Manor Ground.
“The boys produced a brilliant performance last time out, they applied everything we asked of them. Defensively, the distances were very good and they were energetic and aggressive in the right areas.
“On the ball we were patient, picked out the right passes and made the right decisions and were very unlucky not to win the game. The result aside it was one of our best performances of the season.
“Our approach will need to be slightly different for Notts County; it’s a cup game, against a different opposition that play at a different level.
“Going forward, we want to make sure we dominate the game and keep the ball more to then get behind them and score goals which is where we need to improve the most relative to last week.
“They need points as well, they will be attacking and trying to play in our zones. They are condensed in midfield and play direct if you press them. We’ve prepared very well during the week and asked the boys to maintain their momentum and level of intensity and performance.”