A FIVE-goal thrashing by Merit League strugglers Bournemouth in the early parts of Swindon Town Under 18s’ Youth Alliance campaign will look to be reversed this morning, when both teams face each other in Dorset (11am).

Bournemouth finished second in the south-west Youth Alliance league table in the first part of this season’s structure, with the Cherries recording a 2-2 draw at Stanley Park before thrashing Farrell’s youngsters 5-0 on home soil.

That form has counted for little since the Merit League started in February though. Bournemouth have won only one of their opening eight fixtures and sit bottom of the 12-team table on six points.

Regardless of their league position, U18s boss Farrell has stated Bournemouth will still provide threats to his team – who were boosted by a 3-2 mid-week win over Southend United’s U18s thanks to a second half Harry Parsons brace.

“Bournemouth will be tough, we owe them one after our defeat earlier in the season – which was probably our worst performance of the year,” said Farrell.

“Again, I’ll be looking at the performance first – the result will look after itself.

“It’s another great game to look forward to.”

A win over Bournemouth could lift Swindon to the top of the Merit League table with a game in hand – though they must rely on both Oxford and Wimbledon slipping up in their games against Yeovil and Southend respectively.

Sitting three points below table topping Oxford, Town’s young prospects find themselves in a promising position to mount an unlikely title challenge with four fixtures remaining.

An improved work rate when out of possession has pleased Farrell the most – who said the penny finally dropped for his players mid-way through their satisfactory Youth Alliance campaign.

He added: “The performances were improving a long time before the Merit League started.

“The penny finally dropped about how hard they need to work when out of possession at this level – and they started doing that in the last four or five games of the Youth Alliance season.

“That’s been carried over into the Merit League, and players that aren’t playing now know what we expect when they step over the white line.

“There is no time for disappointment when you or your team mate makes a mistake, there is no time for moaning at referees either. You have to be switched on and work hard out of possession.”