Harrogate Town will 'learn plenty' from Carabao Cup defeat to West Bromwich Albion, says Lloyd Kerry
Lloyd Kerry believes that Harrogate Town will "learn plenty" from their Carabao Cup experience at the Hawthorns on Wednesday evening.
The League Two newcomers came up against a Premier League side in a competitive fixture for the first time when they visited West Bromwich Albion in the second round of the competition.
And, even though Kerry and his team-mates finished up on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline, the 32-year-old midfielder feels that the opportunity to test themselves against top-flight players is sure to benefit the Town squad going forwards.
"I think we'll learn plenty from the experience, it was a good test. There's a lot we can take away from it, a lot of positives to carry into the Walsall game on Saturday," he said.
"We approached West Brom the same as any other match and I thought we started on the front foot, got in their faces and pressed them quite well - particularly in the first half,
"But these players are top-level. Big, strong athletes. All quick, and with so much quality on the ball. There was a huge difference [compared to League Two] and I definitely noticed it. Their lads were so sharp - but we expected that.
"We tried to be a bit cleverer about how we pressed the ball. We tried to get into shape as quickly as possible so that they didn't have spaces to exploit, but they're so comfortable in possession and can play out of those tight situations.
"They were able to suck us in at times and then just play the ball around us. We're not used to that. It doesn't happen every week at our level, so that was a good learning experience."
Two stunning long-range strikes from Rekeem Harper and Hal Robson-Kanu put West Brom in control at the Hawthorns, before Callum Robinson's tap-in ended the game as a contest late on, though despite the final score, Kerry insists that Town can be pleased with their night's work.
"I thought we competed well and gave a decent account of ourselves," he added.
"In the first half we really gave them a game and it took two top-class goals from outside the box to separate the teams at half-time.
"In the second half, they had a bit more control and we did tire, though I still think we can be pleased with the shift that we put in."
Although defeat to the Baggies condemned them to a first loss in 13 competitive matches, Kerry doesn't expect that the result will dent Town's confidence heading into Saturday's League Two showdown with Walsall.
"We're all really confident at this moment in time. We got off to a very positive start to the League Two season at Southend last weekend and we're looking to build on that on Saturday," he said.
"At the moment we're going into every game we play believing that we can win it. This is probably the most confident group of players that I've played with during my career.
"All the lads believe in what we're about and expect certain levels of each other, and it's working for us. Things are going well, so long may it continue."