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Hill talks after win over Leeds U23s

8 July 2022

First team manager Keith Hill provided his reaction after his side's 1-0 pre-season friendly win at Leeds United U23s behind-closed-doors at their Thorp Arch training ground.

Mason O'Malley scored a second-half winner to seal the victory in the Iron's third friendly of pre-season, with more valuable game time for the players.

Andrew Boyce got his second 90 minutes of pre-season, while trialist goalkeeper Marcus Dewhurst, Dan Gallimore, George Taft and Mason O'Malley also played the full match.

"It was under extremely hot conditions, so the lads are a bit tetchy. It's been another difficult week with two games and some really intense training," Hill told Iron Player.

"We're working with a smaller squad now because some of the trialists are choosing to go elsewhere, but we're happy with the condition of the players. Now it's a question in game-related situations of being more efficient with their energy and with the ball.

"They worked extremely hard. We know how Leeds play - they're high intensity, keep the ball well, flood areas of the pitch in overloads and it's superb to play against as it puts our players under extreme pressure.

"We have to be better in every aspect. Irrespective of the result, I'm looking for massive improvements."

He added: "They're all stressed physically and mentally, so they're a little bit emotional and we're seeing some of that out on the pitch. But when you're tired in the way they are, you just keep the ball, be more efficient with it and make quicker angles. That's what we're working on effectively in the games we're playing and in training.

"I thought the goalkeeper (Marcus Dewhurst) was good today, while the two centre-halves (Andrew Boyce and George Taft) look to be forming a bit more of a relationship. However, we do need to recruit in that area of the pitch.

"We need to recruit in all departments of the pitch if I'm being honest with you, but everyone knows that. We're not in a situation where we're going to panic. There are a lot of players who are out there but it's about getting the right personalities. For me, it's all about people and if you get the right people in the building you can overachieve."

Talking about the signing of midfielder Elliott Whitehouse on Thursday, following a successful trial, he added: "It's a signing that makes sense. He comes in for the right money and again it's a situation where I will not have the club taken advantage of. This club isn't in a situation where it can pay the big wages like in the past. There's an honesty to the way we pay the players and we only have a certain premium.

"Elliott wants to play for the football club. He's a good person, a good player, and it's an opportunity for us to work with each other to give him a footballing future."

The next friendly comes against Sheffield United at Glanford Park on Saturday, July 16th (12.30pm kick-off) and talking about preparations for that, Hill said: "Again, we'll work hard. I'm not too concerned about the result, it's performance for me individually and collectively, and seeing if the players have learnt the lessons from the three Under-23s games going into a very difficult fixture.

"It's something that will really test us but we're looking forward to it. Hopefully we'll have a few more players through the door, either on trial or signed, and it can give us encouragement for the start of the season. We have a great start to that, live on BT Sport, against Yeovil. It's a difficult opener but one we're looking forward to."

See much more from Keith Hill and Mason O'Malley on Iron Player.

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