Steve Beaglehole

Beaglehole Expecting To Face A Strong Hull Side

Leicester City's Development Squad are tasked with a huge challenge to overcome Sky Bet League 1 side Hull City on Tuesday, according to coach Steve Beaglehole.
More on this story...

- Leicester City's Development Squad begin their season away against Hull City's seniors on Tuesday
- The EFL Trophy fixture is scheduled to be a 5:30pm kick-off at KCOM Stadium
- Steve Beaglehole believes it will be a tough test against a senior team, but says his side are prepared
- City have enjoyed a good pre-season despite the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, Beaglehole reveals

The Foxes take on Hull at KCOM Stadium on Tuesday evening (5:30pm kick-off), in the opening game of their EFL Trophy campaign.

The Tigers, relegated from the Sky Bet Championship at the end of last season, are expected to provide one of City's toughest tests of the campaign.

Beaglehole told LCFC.com it is a game Leicester's young side are fully equipped for, having prepared well on the training pitch over the summer months.

"This competition is the biggest test for our team," he commented. "The games are away, against fully-fledged players that have lots of games under their belt and are experienced, senior players.

We’ve been at the training ground all the time and we’ve worked them harder, the training has been more intense and at a very high standard, so they look very fit.

Steve Beaglehole

"It’s the physical side of it that we find a big test. Set-plays are a big thing we talk about - can we deal with the strength and the height?

"We know we have to be up for the physical challenge because if you don’t stand up to that, you’ve got a problem.

"Because we’ve not done any travelling, we’ve been at the training ground all the time and we’ve worked them harder, the training has been more intense and at a very high standard, so they look very fit.

"I’m pleased not just with the players, but with our staff to adapt to the protocols set for COVID-19. We’ve had to be really stringent in how we plan our sessions.

"As we come to the end of pre-season, it’s been a very challenging one, but we’ve come out of it with flying colours."

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George Hirst
George Hirst

City's Under-23s finished second in the shortened 2019/20 Premier League 2 campaign, narrowly missing out on top spot.

Although preparations have had to be adapted, Beaglehole is happy with how things have gone on the pitch and is delighted with how his players have applied themselves.

“It’s been a challenge with the pandemic," he continued. "We played Burton Albion, Rotherham United and Lincoln City, they had strong sides and we were very young.

“I was delighted with not only the results in those games, but the performances, they were great.

"We beat Burton, we beat Lincoln and were very unfortunate to lose to Rotherham. There were some outstanding individual performances.

“A number of younger players have come up from the youth set-up that have really hit the ground running and look like they could do very well at Under-23s level.

“We’ve been very encouraged playing against senior sides, I was pleasantly surprised with the results and the way they adapted to it. It should give them encouragement to play against senior players."

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Khanya Leshabela
Khanya Leshabela

The Foxes reached the last eight stage of the EFL Trophy last season, whilst also featuring in the Premier League International Cup.

City's Development Squad will also play Sky Bet League 2 outfits Grimsby Town and Harrogate Town in Group H.

While Beaglehole believes his side could have gone further than reaching the last eight in 2019/20, he is not setting any expectations on his young squad this time around.

He added: "Last year, we had a phenomenal run, losing to Newport County in the quarter-final.

"I’m not saying we would have won it, but we were on course to get there and it was a phenomenal run. We’re going to be a much younger group this time around.

We’ve done our analysis on Hull and we know their strengths and weaknesses and how they like to play. We’ve got to put our game plan in to place and it’s the lads’ job to carry it out on Tuesday.

Steve Beaglehole

"But we’re optimistic, we’ve got a really good camaraderie going within group, the team spirit has developed well over the course of pre-season and the staff we’ve got are together for another year.

"We’ve got consistent staff and we know what it’s about and there will be no Under-23s team better prepared than us. We know the expectations, we’ve had a lot of experience, we know what we’re up against.

"We have to be fit and technically good and we’ve got to impose those strengths on the opposition.

"Where we've got the advantage is through some technically good players, players with pace and sometimes you might play against a back four that are not as mobile and quick and therefore we look at that.

"We’ve done our analysis on Hull and we know their strengths and weaknesses and how they like to play. We’ve got to put our game plan into place and it’s the lads’ job to carry it out on Tuesday.”

All times BST.

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