Solihull Moors Elite Academy are eyeing progression in the National League Academy Cup (second round) this afternoon, with Grimsby Town the visitors to the Abacus Lighting Community Arena.

Mike Fowler’s side extended their lead at the top of the NLFA North Division with a 3-1 victory at Notts County last Wednesday.

And Moors’ Head of Elite Youth Development has been pleased with his players and how they returned back to the set-up following the Christmas period.

“Coming back after the festive break is always a challenging one,” Fowler said. “The players are given their own programme to work on while they’re at home.

“Before the break we had a couple of good performances which put us to the top of the league.

“We talked about momentum and how important it is to use the break as a springboard to go again.

“The lads came back in fantastic shape and looked after themselves really well. We were able to hit the ground running with training and the game last week against Notts County.

“Notts County were a difficult opposition and had some really good players, causing us problems on the day.”

Transferring league form into the cup

“We’ve got an important cup game today against unknown opposition so it’s another experience for us that we are prepared for.

“We’re going to have to show the same mentality, the attitude and adaptability to opposition that we don’t know much about.

“We’ll try and focus on us and our principles of play. We’re back up to full strength in terms of squad depth and it’s nice to have a couple of players back who have been missing. It gives a bit of extra competition, so we’re pleased with that.”

Player development at the Elite Academy

“We’re looking at the development of the individuals rather than the success and they’ve got to learn through winning and losing.

“We’ve lost a few games this year but also, at the same time, have done well and had success in games.

“There are lads out playing step five football and a couple at step four at the age of 16, which is phenomenal.

“I’m delighted with their progress and it’s been a very good start, but there’s a long way to go.

“Our job is to make sure that we’re cutting down that gap where we are to the first team, with the goal that we get as many players through – that’s the aim.”