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Steve Wigley saluted Fulham’s patience after the under 23s saw off Stoke with a flurry of late goals to move ten points clear at the top of the PL2 Second Division table.

The young Whites had to wait for the breakthrough against a stubborn Stoke side, who battled hard despite being reduced to ten men in the first half. But, after Idris Odutayo broke the deadlock with an excellent far post header, further strikes from Terry Ablade and Luke Harris allowed the hosts to record a seventh successive victory at Motspur Park.

Wigley told FFCTV:

“We had to be patient. They were a bit unfortunate, obviously, they went down to ten men before half time and it was just a case of keep moving the ball quickly and eventually I felt we’d wear them down. To be fair to them, they competed well but we scored some goals.

Wigley was worried that his side could have been set for a second straight stalemate after being held to a draw at Colchester in the PL Cup in midweek, but praised the quality of the team’s finishing in the final twenty minutes.

“It was very similar to the other night, where we should have scored, we had a plethora of chances and didn’t take them. You start to think, we missed a couple of a good chances and think, ‘Oh no, it’s not going to be another one of them nights’. But to be fair, we scored good goals, put some good balls into the box and it was a good win in the end.”

The under 23 head coach revealed that Fulham might look to allow three or four of his side to go out on loan in January – giving some of the club’s under 18 stars an opportunity to move up a level.

“It’s my job to keep reminding them that all you do is play the next game. You don’t look into the future, you move on from the past and you just play the present. That’s what we’ll do. We’ve got quite a bit of interest in some of the boys to go out on loan in January. We’ll look to take that opportunity – if we could get three or four of them out on loan, because when you’re playing well, people seem to like your players a bit more and then it will be up to other people to step up like Charlie Robinson has done tonight. That’s the plan if I’m honest – and then we’ve still got to try and win games.”

He has been delighted with the continual improvement amongst his group of players, which remains the academy’s mantra.

“I mean the most important thing is that players are getting better. I keep saying to them, ‘As long as you’re improving and developing your talent, the game takes care of itself’. I believe that strongly, that’s what we’ll work towards. If I felt anybody wasn’t improving, I’d be really worried but as a collective, they’re improving as players.”