Last week, our latest intake of Scholars signed to become Under-18 players for the new season. A key landmark in their career, we spoke to Academy manager Ged Roddy, the man overseeing their step into a new phase of development with the club.
“It’s a brilliant day, this is a real special group of players and I’ve said it many times now, its part of this great legacy that has been created at this club over many years", said Ged.
“These boys all started at our club ten years ago and they’ve grown up with us, so today is a big day for them and it’s a big day for their families.
“Of course, we’ve told them already, the hard work starts now. But all they’ve got to do is look across the training ground at Hogwood and they can see a real large number of homegrown players now featuring in our first team squad, and that’s the opportunity that awaits them.
“They all know each other really well, and I think that’s where we really benefit from this is the chemistry they have when they’re on the field.
“It’s another one of those added benefits of taking the boys in when they’re very young, coaching them intently and expertly so they come through in the way that they have done now.
“Eamonn used to talk to me a lot about the lads here, and I used to come and watch games, so I knew that the cupboards were well stacked with talented players.
“Last season was a bit of a landmark for us, and now the challenge for the club and for the Academy is to kick it on, and I’m really excited for the start of the season to see how well our young players do. I hope they make a massive impression on the Championship.”
Ged also spoke about the young players returning to training a week ahead of the first team, and how everything is being done to prepare them for the next step up in their careers.
“They’re going in with the senior pros who have got years of training behind them, so you just need to give them every opportunity, every advantage you can get.
“They’ll be out on the training ground, I’ll be out with them, and we’ll see how they do. It’s the start of a very exciting period for them, but it is for us as well.
“From my perspective, to go out and see the next generation of players coming through, there’s no better place than being with this group.”