B Team boss Matt Craddock looks ahead to upcoming season

Matt Craddock and Dave Gardiner watching from the sidelines. Picture: Harry McGuire
Matt Craddock and Dave Gardiner watching from the sidelines. Picture: Harry McGuire

B Team boss Matt Craddock reckons his side have “come a long way” in a short space of time following their first pre-season schedule.

The newly-launched side went up against Atherton Colls, Bamber Bridge, Southport and Warrington Town – earning a 2-2 draw in the final of the four games thanks to goals from Matty Grivosti and Lamine Toure.

Craddock says the purpose of the B Team is to produce players who can make the step up to the first-team picture, and is hopeful they can keep improving over the coming weeks and months.

“Seven weeks ago the lads had never met each other. They’ve come a long way,” the manager explained.

“The plan with the B Team is about developing individuals. We know about the players in the Academy, we know what their strengths are and we also know what their areas for development are.

“What these four games have done is really clarify the things we need to work on with the individuals to help them push on.

“These four games have been difficult and everyone has been competitive to the last second.

“That’s a real testament to the lads, they’ve worked really hard. In every game they’ve been really competitive and I think we’ve really had to pull together to get through these difficult four games.

“Now we can take a step back and re-focus back onto those individuals, and working and pushing these lads to see where we can get to.”

Craddock’s men will compete in the Central League and Central League Cup this season, as well as hand-picked friendlies against other Academies and B Teams.

He added: “The four games we have played are going to help us and getting into the routine is going to be really good.

“We can start analysing the opposition coming in and really start replicating what the first team do with our players and I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’m just really pleased the lads have stuck together this period and they’ll be much better off for going through it.”

B Team 2022/23 fixture list

  • Fleetwood Town (A) – Tuesday, August 16 (KO 1pm)

  • Huddersfield Town (H) – Wednesday, September 7 (KO 2pm)*

  • Wrexham (H) – Wednesday, September 14 (KO 2pm)

  • Lincoln City (H) – Tuesday, October 11 (KO 2pm)*

  • Accrington Stanley (H) – Wednesday, October 26 (KO 1pm)

  • Preston North End (H) – Wednesday, November 2 (KO 1pm)

  • Huddersfield Town (A) – Wednesday, November 9 (KO 1pm)

  • Rotherham United (A) – Tuesday, December 6 (KO 1pm)*

  • Rochdale (A) – Tuesday, December 13 (KO 1pm)*

  • Blackpool (H) – Wednesday, January 11 (KO 1pm)

  • Wrexham (A) – Tuesday, January 17 (KO 1pm)

  • Preston North End (A) – Tuesday, February 14 (KO 1pm)

  • Huddersfield Town (H) – Wednesday, March 1 (KO 1pm)

  • Accrington Stanley (A) – Wednesday, March 29 (KO 1pm)

  • Fleetwood Town (H) – Wednesday, April 19 (KO 2pm)

  • Blackpool (A) – TBC

*Central League Cup fixtures