Fleetwood Town’s development squad could not shake the hangover from missing out on cup glory as they lost 3-0 to Wigan in a disappointing Central League North Cup opener .
Paul Murray’s side travelled to Wigan Athletic’s Christopher Park for their first game since narrowly losing the Lancashire Senior Cup final to Liverpool a fortnight ago.
But the development squad head coach was left disappointed as a very young Wigan side outclassed a Fleetwood team which included midfielder Sebastien Des Pres, who has moved up the coast from Blackpool.
The 18-year-old American (right), who signed an 18-month Pool contract in January but was released earlier this month, has now joined the Cod Army on a 12-month deal.
He made two senior appearances for Blackpool, both in the Checkatrade Trophy. Having made his debut in last season’s defeat by Wycombe, the USA Under-19 international played the whole of last month’s tie again Wigan, which Pool lost on penalties.
He was part of Blackpool’s double-winning Under-18 side under Ciaran Donnelly, who is now head of Fleetwood’s Academy.
Town fell behind from a fourth-minute corner at Wigan, then Callum Lang capitalised on a terrible back pass by Harvey Rodgers in the 54th minute. The hosts wrapped up victory with their third 12 minutes later.
With Wigan’s first team facing Northampton last night, boss Paul Cook watched a number of his academy prospects outshine several of Town’s first team squad, including Victor Nirennold, Joe Maguire and Rodgers.
Town strikers Ashley Nadesan and Michael Donohue wasted several opportunities as a clinical Wigan strolled to victory.
Murray said: “I am generally disappointed with the performance as a whole.
“We had a few young ones coming up and a few strong ones dropping down, so they have to lead by example. Unfortunately we were never in the game.
“We were really poor on the ball and there was not enough desire off the ball to run and work, which is what we are all about.
“I give credit to them when they are doing well but that was not up to our usual standards. I hope it was a blip because that will not be allowed to happen again.
“A young Wigan side were clinical with their chances and we weren’t. Even at 3-0, if you get one against a young side they start to panic ,but we could not stick it in the net for love nor money.”
He said of Des Pres: “He was decent for Blackpool’s youth team, who won the league.
“Ciaran has seen something in him and we will see what he does.
“He’s got some good attributes and I’m looking forward to working with him.
“He is very strong technically but there is obviously still a lot of work ahead for such a young player. I’m sure he’ll get lots of game time in our Development Squad and it’s up to him to take the initiative.”