Keith Curle on the U18 side and their unbeaten runManager Keith Curle today spoke about the impressive start to the season made by the U18 side under the stewardship of Darren Edmondson and Dave Wilkes.
The youth team are unbeaten in seven league and cup fixtures and currently sit in second spot in the North West Youth Alliance League as they head into this Saturday’s home game against Blackpool [kick off 12pm at Creighton].
“We’ve got a batch of the younger lads who are doing very well and the results they’re getting have been noted,” Curle said. “Colin West and I have been at a couple of the youth games and we’ve seen bits and pieces we like.
“We’ll keep bringing some of the younger players in to train with us so we can maintain their progression. It gives us a chance to leave them with messages about what they need to work on when they go back to the youth team.
“As we saw on Tuesday night, when we took Cameron Salkeld to Doncaster, there will also be opportunities for some of these lads to take a closer look at the first team environment. At our last reserve game [away at Oldham] we were able to play first year keeper Lee Ashton.
“It was a good opportunity for the young lad to step up because we’ve had some good reports about him. That’s been the same for Morgan [Bacon] as well, because these lads could be needed if Max [Crocombe] was ever to be injured or called-up for international duty.”
“We’re very pleased with what we’ve seen from the Academy this season,” he continued. “There’s a winning mentality and a very good environment has been created by Darren [Edmondson] and Dave [Wilkes].
“They’re maximising what they have at their disposal and it’s very pleasing to see them at the right end of the table. They struggled last season but the training regime and mentality has changed.
“Youth football is all about development but winning games won’t do any harm. We want a winning mentality in all departments. Part of the restructuring of the club has been to move the youth team coaching staff into the office next to the first team staff. That gives us integration and a working relationship, and we’ve been able to create a solid football hub.”
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s younger Academy age groups, the youth team or the ladies team – we want to create a winning environment,” he commented. “Sometimes the best thing to do is to be able to listen, because people like David and Darren have had good careers.
“I want people who can be honest with their opinions so that I can digest it and make decisions based on that. What I will say is that if I make good decisions, they’re mine, but if it’s a bad one it’s down to the staff!”