Young players’ progress highlights success of five-year academy plan

Matlock Town football club academy.
Matlock Town football club academy.

Matlock Town development manager Justin Tellus believes the club must embrace its academy players to help the first-team achieve promotion.

Tellus was in at the start of a five-year plan to make Matlock’s academy the best non-league set-up in the region.

That was three years ago and he thinks the current batch of youngsters can already make an impact in the first team.

“It would be fantastic to get out of this league [EVO-STIK Premier Division] and up into the National League North and maybe beyond. To do that we need to embrace these youngsters,” he said.

“The players that we are creating can help enhance our first team and that’s very important to us. Our team needs local players of a good level who are club people and can push our club forward.”

Tellus said the academy plan was set up to help achieve success for the first team,

“The five-year plan is to try and push our academy to be the best non-league academy in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire — and we think we are on target,” he said.

“We want to create a platform where we are seen to be the best non-league academy — where players dropping off the Football League pyramid at under-16 level can come, restart their career and get all the necessary tools to go on and play professional football.”

One example of the academy’s success already that Tellus takes great pride in is the development of Max Hunt.

After being picked up by Matlock, Hunt has now developed and recently signed a full-time contract with Derby County.

“It’s been a fantastic journey and I’m actually enjoying it,” said Tellus. “When you see a lad go on like Max Hunt going to Derby County it inspires you to work harder.

“Max can go on and have a long career in football and I hope he does and surpasses everything I did.

“When you get to my age you are living the dream through someone else’s shoes, so every time he plays I feel like I’m playing myself.”