After completing a successful pre-season programme that included a trip to Germany, City’s Academy are back in action on Saturday in the Premier Academy League.
For the second year running, the Boys Blue competed in a tournament in Oberndorf as part of a competitive build-up to the season. Although they reached the final, City were beaten on penalties after a 1-1 draw. They also participated in a number of friendly games, with Honved of Hungary and Rhyl being the most recent.
Changes have been made to the Platt Lane set-up over the summer period, with Scott Sellars taking up the new role of Head of Coaching for the Academy and Adam Sadler brought in as the new Under 18’s coach. The pre-season has been very encouraging and important in the development of the young scholars. Mark Allen, the Head of the Academy, was delighted with the successful preparations for the upcoming campaign.
“It was a very successful trip,” he stated. “We like to get the boys together for a focused 10-12 days where we can concentrate on getting them back to full fitness and engaged in a few friendly games to get them back in the spirit and the run of competitive football. We like to then finish with more of a competitive tournament which took us back to Oberndorf in Germany for the second summer running.
“It went really well. It was a very productive trip and, although the whole squad played well, certain players were singled out for praise. Adam Drury won the golden boot of the tournament and Alex Henshall won the player of the tournament for his outstanding displays. City were also given an award for being the most attractive and entertaining team which is always a nice accolade to get. On the whole it was very successful and offered us the ideal preparation for the upcoming season.”
“We continued our warm-up with a friendly against Hungarian side Honved. The lads played some superb attacking football and we ran out 4-1 winners. We finished our pre-season ventures at Rhyl. It was a really competitive match and it was great for the boys to play in a stadium environment. We won, 1-0 with Devante Cole scoring the only goal, but we always felt in control of the game. The match was a great chance for us to experience a final run-out in readiness for our game against Coventry in the Academy League on Saturday August 20. I’d like to extend a big thanks to the officials and players at Rhyl for their hospitality.
“We haven’t played Coventry in the League programme for some years as they aren’t in our region. The way the League works is we get two travel trips a year, one home and one away, so this goes down as one of our travel trips along with the home game against Ipswich Town. It will be a tough encounter, Coventry are always very competitive so we’re expecting a tough game. Like all things, when the season kicks off everything is equal and everybody will probably be at their fittest and raring to go. We’re expecting a difficult game but the preparations have gone well and we’re hoping we can carry that pre-season form into the season to get us off to a successful start.”
Allen was also keen to stress the opportunities that lie in front of the Academy scholars, with integration and progress with the Elite Development Squad a priority.
“A number of players this year have experienced some success already and been up with Andy Welsh’s EDS,” Allen said. “We’re looking to integrate the two departments in a much better way this season. You’ll see a lot of the Academy boys going up to Carrington on a day-to-day basis to integrate with the EDS squad. As we progress in the tournaments, whether they be under 19, under 18 or even the Youth Cup competitions, there will be a pool of players who will be a part of the Platt Lane and EDS set-up mixing and matching over that period of time.”