'A lot is on the line' - Walters on Leasing.com Trophy tie
Written by Luke Vinton
Oliver Walters is determined Newcastle United Under-23s can progress into the Leasing.com Trophy knockout stages ahead of their Group D clash at Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night.
The young Magpies travel to the Montgomery Waters Meadow (kick-off 7.30pm BST) for their Northern Section group encounter against the League One outfit, where an away could lift United's second-string into second place.
And, following a 2-1 defeat to Macclesfield Town in their opening tie, Walters is targeting maximum points in their bid to reach the knockout stages for a second successive year after an impressive run to the Northern Section quarter-finals last term.
The teenage defender told nufc.co.uk: "The game against Shrewsbury is very important for us as a squad as we need to get a positive result to give us a chance to qualify for the knockout stages.
"After the Macclesfield game, we were disappointed with the result and our first half performance. In the second half, we were a lot better so we can definitely take that into the Shrewsbury game.
"A lot is on the line as we can't afford to slip up if we are wanting to progress in the competition. We can take positives from last year's run as we reached the last 16 which was unbelievable.
"I think if we keep improving and building on our recent performances, we can do just as well as last year."
Walters, who primarily plays as a left back, is relishing the opportunity in facing another Football League side, with Salop currently situated in 12th place in England's third tier.
And, with Group D leaders Port Vale still to face in the tournament, Walters believes the clashes can only benefit the young squad.
The 19-year-old added: "I think playing against senior opposition is something that we can all learn a great deal from as some of the players we will be playing against will be very experienced.
"It gives us a chance to test ourselves against players who have played lots of games in the Football League. The style of football is different to what we normally play against in the league so it gives us a different challenge.
"We have a young team this year but we have improved so much since the start of the season and are very hungry to succeed. Hopefully, we can get a win which will give us a great chance to progress."