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Welsh keeps Academy on right path

Academy Platt Lane 2008

Academy Platt Lane 2008

The bar has been raised even higher at go-ahead City - and nobody is more excited about the challenge than new Academy manager Andy Welsh.

Succeeding supremo Jim Cassell at Platt Lane, which has become a virtual production line of fine young footballers for the Blues, was always going to be a big task for the next incumbent.

But former Leeds Academy and PFA coach Welsh, recruited to the Academy 14 months ago by Cassell, is determined the flow of talent will continue to supplement the Club's big signings.

With every aspect of the Club benefiting from an upgrade, including Platt Lane and Carrington, Welsh plans to send new stars from one to the other in the footsteps of Stevie Ireland, Micah Richards & Co.

Questions have inevitably been raised by outside observers as manager Mark Hughes has worked overtime to transform his senior squad with eight signings in the transfer window.

But Welsh says: "I've spoken at length to Chairman Khaldoon - he came down to watch the youth team a couple of weeks ago and we had a good hour-and-a-half meeting about the Academy.

"He is delighted with how things have been and he is desperate to make sure we maintain that route for boys to work through from the Academy to the first team. Everybody will be trying their hardest to make sure we do that."

City's latest young crop includes prospects from Norway, Sweden, Spain and Malta, and Cassell's new work with the International Academies is sure to increase the flow of foreign talent.

Welsh adds: "In the modern game you have to have a global recruitment programme, but in saying that we still have some very talented local boys as well as those from Europe and beyond. There is a balance.


We also have to produce a balance between buying players and producing our own. We're under no illusions - it's a difficult job because of the level we want to achieve

 Andy Welsh


"The bar has been raised even higher because of the nature of the way things have gone at the Club. We're very excited. I'm enjoying trying to build on the fantastic base laid by Jim.

"I'm looking forward to spending many years here. I think I've found a home and a great role thanks to everybody's support at the Club in helping us to try and move forward."

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