Academy manager Alan Moore on EPPP and youth targets
Academy manager Alan Moore spoke to us about settling into the job and his aims for the future as news of the weekend postponement at Bury was confirmed.
"I've enjoyed my time here so far," he said. "It's been very busy but that's how I like it.
“There are a number of areas which have to be looked at. We have the U16 lads, who all need decisions on their futures, and we have the EPPP audit which starts this week. It’s all very intense but the staff here have put a lot of work into it and we’re in a very good position.”
"If you were to pick a month of the year to come into a new job then this would probably be the worst month you could choose,” he agreed. “Everything is happening at once but football is like that. You've just got to take it all in your stride. We're constantly assessing the second years but we're getting feedback from everybody around the club regarding how the lads have done for the last six months.”
On the ongoing Elite Player Performance Plan preparation work, he said: "The EPPP is basically the blue print for the club. It applies from the u9 age group all the way up to the u18s. It also looks at how we intend to progress the lads through into the first team environment because that has to be the ultimate aim.
“It's a very important document and there’s been a lot of work put into it because we have to have that structure in place. It gives guidance for all of the kids who join the academy and it means that boys as young as eight will come to us and they will be able to see a pathway for where we want them to be in ten years time.”
"I've got clear goals and a clear focus on where I want everything to go but it could take two or three years to get it all in place,” he explained. “After that it should just run like clockwork and make everyone's job easier. These things take time and we've all got to be patient, especially with the younger players.
“The foundations are definitely already in place. The staff have done a great job and it does make my overall task easier. Obviously as a fresh set of eyes I can see things I want to tweak but that will all be to help the club move forward.
“The tricky part at the moment is trying to get to know the U18 lads. I want game time with them and we also need to be training hard alongside everything else which is going on. The friendly at Middlesbrough last Tuesday really helped with that side of it.
“We’ve lost our last few games to the weather and that was the first time I’ve seen them in a match situation. It was good to see them doing the things we’ve been talking about and Boro were fantastic for putting the game on for us. The lads, to a man, did everything we asked of them and it’s given me a few pointers on things we can look to move on with over the next few weeks.
“It goes without saying that pitch time is important because that’s where they learn most of their trade. I think that’s why it’s so disappointing for everyone when a game gets called off. All you really want is to be out there and doing the job.
"The youth lads have responded to everything we've asked of them in training. The under 18 side of the job is very enjoyable because you get to see the lads every day. You see the good and bad side of the group but, whatever the case, we all want them to do well in everything they do.”
“I think experience in any job is invaluable,” he commented. “Having been in the youth side of the job for a while at Bury you can see how certain scenarios are likely to develop and that means you’re better placed to do something about it.
“You have to remember that you’re dealing with young lads and you have to have a huge amount of patience. They’ll have good periods during the season and they’ll have spells where they will struggle a bit. They won’t know why that it is and that’s when it’s important to be there for them.
“One of the most exciting things about the job is the massive catchment area for the club. It has to be a target for us to pick lads up from the local area and get them through to the first team.”
“I know Kav of old and that does help when it comes to settling in,” he told us. “Mind you, I probably saw more of him before I started the job than I do now because we’re all so busy. The friendship is a strong one but we still have to be professional and make sure we do our jobs properly.
“I enjoy the job I and I know I’ll enjoy seeing the rewards at the end of it. That, of course, will be when lads get a professional contract and move on with their careers. That’s what it’s all about as far as I’m concerned.”
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