Eric Kinder on new signings
Second-year striker Owen Heather has teamed up with the U18 side for an extended period of work experience following discussions between Sheffield United and Carlisle United this week.
Heather, 17, has joined the youth squad for his first training session this morning and will stay with United for six weeks in a bid to get some valuable game time under his belt.
“Owen is a second-year striker and, due to circumstances at Sheffield United, he has fallen down the pecking order a little bit over there,” Eric Kinder explained.
“I’ve known Jamie Hoyland for a long, long time from his days at Preston, and I have a great relationship with him. He phoned and asked if I would be interested in having a look at Owen because he was behind a centre forward they have high hopes for, in terms of being selected to play. Jamie told me that if he was still working at Preston then he would definitely take him on, and that was good enough for me.”
“A decision hasn’t been made for him with Sheffield United yet, but we have taken him on work experience for six weeks to give him the game time he needs,” he added. “If we like him, and if he impresses us with the way he plays and conducts himself, then we might be in a position to offer him something here.
“Owen has made a wise decision in agreeing to come and do this. He could have stayed in Sheffield and battled away, but these lads need to be playing if they are going to make any kind of impact. He’ll get the chance to show everyone what he can do here and we can take it from there.
“I think his preferred position is up front and through the middle, but he can also play wide on the right. It’s a good opportunity for him and we’ll see how it goes over the next six weeks or so.”
Meanwhile Kinder also confirmed that left back Jordan Marshall will join the club as a first-year YTS player ahead of next season.
“Jordan is another from the Wallsend Boys Club and he has picked up a great reputation with the way he has played over the last couple of seasons,” Kinder told us.
“We’ve got a really good relationship with Ian Brown, the coach over there, and we have been able to have a look at quite a few of their players this year.
“Jordan is an attacking left back and he has really impressed us during the trial spells he has had with us. He has loads of energy and enthusiasm and he has handled himself really well. Technically he looks to be very good and we’re looking forward to working with him.”
Weather permitting it will be back to the action for the youth team this weekend with a Youth Alliance Cup quarter final home game against Shrewsbury Town (Creighton Rugby Football Club, kick off 11am).
“Our fingers are crossed but we have to be honest and say that the game is in doubt,” he said. “The weather forecast is poor so we’ll be making a decision on Friday afternoon.
“We want it to go ahead if at all possible because the lads are ready for it. We had a friendly against Preston last weekend and, if I’m being honest, we looked very stale following what was a long Christmas break. I’m pleased we did that because it helped to get everybody back into focus and it showed us that we have dropped off the pace a bit.
“We’ve trained very well with that in mind and the perfect way to round that off would be with a game. It’s a competition we want to do well in so we just have to wait and see what the weather does to us over the next 24 hours.”