Boyd-Munce seeking a return to winning ways

Caolan Boyd-Munce in action against Crewe
Caolan Boyd-Munce in action against Crewe

Caolan Boyd-Munce admits Blues Under-23s have had a frustrating time of late.

None more so than in their last match, a 0-0 draw against Crewe Alexandra at the St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium.

The Northern Ireland midfielder had three powerful strikes at goal in a strong personal performance, with two being blocked in front of the sticks and the other turned onto the post by a fantastic flying save.

It meant that Blues have now drawn their last three matches.

On Friday, Colchester United are the opponents at Nuneaton Town FC in Blues final Premier League Cup match (12 noon).

Blues altered their formation to a 4-1-3-2 against Crewe, with David Davis, Kerim Mrabti, Connor Mahoney and Isaac Vassell coming into it, to secure match minutes.

“It was a frustrating game,” said Boyd-Munce. “We took a while to get used to the system. The more the game went on the more we did and the more we got into the spaces.

“It was just really the final third. We didn’t have that end product there, or that bit of luck. On another day it would have been three or four nil.

“We were gelling together a lot better the second-half. We knew what we needed to do, we were more comfortable with our roles.

“They couldn’t defend against it, but we couldn’t find that goal. There were great saves, players putting themselves on the line to block us. It just wasn’t there.

“I got a few shots away. The one he tipped it onto the post, I thought that was it. That goes in then we get more goals. It was a great save to be fair.

“We have Colchester next and need to win. We’ve turned it around in the competition really well.

“Hopefully we can get through (to the knockout stage) and we can keep pushing further on in the league.”

Blues last victory, at Fulham, gave them a chance of qualification. They fought back from 2-0 down to group winners Reading at Solihull Moors a fortnight ago to draw, but Fulham recorded a resounding win against Colchester to edge ahead in the standings.

Boyd-Munce has returned to the Under-23s fold after injury and created a positive impact.

“My challenge was coming back and keeping that standard as before,” said the 19-year-old, whose third year scholarship comes to an end in the summer.

“I feel like I have done that. I have worked hard, I feel like I have come back fitter.

“It is going positively, I’ve now just got to see how the next few months go for me.”

“Keep winning. That’s the attitude you have to have. Try to play well and help the team win.”

Boyd-Munce was one of several of last season’s Blues Under-18s who either earned pro deals or extra year scholarships and have adapted to the tougher demands.

He reflected: “As a group coming up the 23s, especially how well we did last year, we knew it was going to be tricky. A new way of playing, the requirements.

“Pre-season we struggled to adapt a bit. But since September onwards we’ve been flying with it. We have been unlucky with the few results, and changes to the team can upset he chemistry a bit. You don’t always know how each other plays. But that happens in 23s football.

“I think overall we’ve been very good as a team, as a group. On and off the pitch.

“Making the step up, that’s what we needed to do. Richard Beale and Paul Robinson said that to us before the season start, it’s those final details that make you or break you.”

Blues Under-23s mirror the First Team in style, training and preparation.

That has meant a recent change from a regulation 4-4-2.

Boyd-Munce likes the increased options and rotations in midfield a diamond or variations of that shape deployed recently brings.

“We can keep it a lot better, we can recycle it more. With a two in the centre it was very much being on the front foot constantly and trying to win the second balls.

“You can be more patient with the ball in this system, pick it up a lot more and for a footballing team like us on Saturday, it was perfect for us.

“Especially with David Davis sitting and getting on the ball, spraying it around for us.”