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“Fans can play big part in development of young players”

7 November 2016

Academy manager calls for fans backing on Wednesday evening against Yeovil...

Royals academy manager Lee Herron is hoping there will be good turnout at Madejski Stadium on Wednesday evening for
Reading’s Checkatrade Trophy clash with Yeovil Town.
The Royals have named a young side in the previous two trophy matches so far this season, and Herron believes playing in front of the Reading faithful will help massively in the development of the next crop of academy graduates. 

“We want as many fans at the stadium as possible,” said Herron. “These are our players and they are the ones that we want to push and to be successful.  That’s not just the coaching staff that wants that – it’s our fanbase as well.

“Part of development is playing in front of crowds. In football, sometimes you play in front of crowds that are with you, and sometimes they are against you. We’re at home on Wednesday and the fans will be with us.

“I want that experience for our young players because it’ll be of benefit to them.  Our fans can play a big part in helping to develop our young players.”

Herron says the trophy has been a great opportunity for the Reading youngsters, who have gleaned a lot experience from the competitive matches against Bristol Rovers and Portsmouth. 

First team manager Jaap Stam insinuated after Saturday’s Championship win away at Wigan that a number of players from the first team squad may also be involved on Wednesday evening at Madejski Stadium.

“I think it has been very positive for us, admitted Herron. “We’ve been able to blood so many young players in competitive games, which we normally wouldn’t be able to do unless they are out on loan.”

“Some of the players that have played in the previous two games have been very young – as young as 17.  They aren’t on the radar for loans yet,” he continued. “We’ve still been able to expose them to EFL players and clubs.  It has been really, really positive from all aspects.

Judging on the matches in the tournament so far, Herron believes the competition has offered good entertainment value for the paying supporters. A draw for the Royals against Yeovil on Wednesday will see them progress to the next stage of the competition, but a win will guarantee a home tie in the next round of the tournament.

Herron says the Royals are just taking the tournament on a game-by-game treating every game as a bonus if the young Reading side progress. 

“The managers and staff that we have spoken to after our games have been very positive on the tournament,” said the Academy boss. “The crowds that have attended have been supportive and positive as well.  In return they have seen some really good football and some dramatic matches, such as our penalty shoot-out against Portsmouth.

“We had a 17-year-old, Tyler Frost, who scored our winning penalty in that game – you can’t buy that kind of experience, you have to go through it.  And we have.

“I think it has benefitted everyone – once you’re there and you see it,” said Lee. “You realise that there is game-time for people and it is very competitive.  Our current experience has been really positive.

“Hopefully the prize for us at the end of this game is another game in the competition – which is what we want.  It’s another game against an EFL team and it’s going to be very, very tough.  If you don’t approach it in the right way you’ll get nothing from it – it’s that simple.

“It’s another experience to add to the players’ development.  The more different experiences we can give can only help that individual on the pathway that they’re going to go on.  Getting another game would be a fantastic bonus.”

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