Preparations have begun for further progression within the Matlock Town academy system as pre-season training gets underway.
The young Gladiators had a record-breaking season last term in which they made history by winning the Derbyshire Divisional North Cup and the Blackpool Cup, while recording the NPL Joma league title in the process.
The youth set up also saw its greatest ever number of players progress into the first team to cap off an impressive season – and they don’t plan on stopping there.
Matlock Town Development Manager Justin Tellus has spoken of a five-year plan for the academy, which has already shown its impressive ability to bear fruit, only a short time after starting.
“Last season saw the benefits at such an early stage of our own internal development,” he said. “We are still in the progression and development stage of our system, which I and the other members of the development committee are constantly working on within a five year plan.”
On Saturday another success story of the academy was announced by the club as towering 18-year-old academy and reserves defender Max Hunt signed forms to play for the first team in the upcoming season.
Hunt is described as being strong in the air while also capable of adopting a ball-playing-defender-type role, with his passing accuracy an apparent attribute.
Hunt’s move from academy to first team is another example of the development sector’s good work, however, the new season could be tricky for Tellus and the development management team.
He said: “The coming season will bring new challenges for management, technical staff and players as we aim to achieve the ever higher objectives within our progression plan.
“This could be difficulties at all levels within our structure as we continue to strive to become the elite non-League development system within North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire.”
He was, however, quick to reiterate the academy’s desire to succeed.
“We’ll overcome the difficulties that you find at this level of football though, and provide a platform for our young players,” he said.
“We strive to help all of our young players to achieve their maximum level within a professional football set up, while also provide them with the educational qualifications and job skills to obtain employment; which we believe is a crucial factor at this level.”
Tellus then highlighted the importance of working with other organisations.
“Our links with league clubs, local clubs and the community are forever growing stronger and this season we will continue to work on this area as it is crucial to building the foundations for the future,” he added.
The academy’s season is due to kick-off on August 5th and have pre-season friendlies against Sheffield United, Chesterfield, AFC Wimbledon and Scottish Premier League side Hearts before then.
Further match information is available on the academy’s Facebook page.