The youngsters who have all signed full-term agreements with the club include - Dylan Graham (Goalkeeper); Ed Jones, Harry Wright, Charlie Wilson, Jack Tierney (Defenders); Jenson Metcalfe, Saja Manafa, Halid Djankpata, Sam Coughlan, Isaac Heath, Shae Cahill (Midfielders); Troy Smikle-James, Owen Barker (Forwards).
One interesting name in the new squad though yet to appear this season is a certain Shae Cahill, son of the famous Blue Kangaroo legend, Tim Cahill. We will keep a keen eye on his progress in the coming weeks and that of the squad as a whole.
The results for the Young Blues have been mixed so far with one win, one draw and two defeats. The team currently sits 10th (out of 14 teams) in the North Premier League for Under-18s but are level on points with their next opponents Burnley who have a better goal difference. This coming Saturday they will be hoping to build on the impressive 2-0 win over Sunderland last weekend which was thanks to goals by Jack Tierney and Emilio Lawrence.
While there is clearly a desire to climb the table, one look at the more senior Under-23 group for this season tells a better story of how the working of the Academy has changed in the last couple of years since a number of over-23 players have been moved out.
The club have within the last year promoted 11 talented players, all 18 years or under to play regularly in David Unsworth’s side. Indeed several players from last year’s Under-18 squad such as Charlie Whitaker, Reece Welch, Isaac Price, Lewis Dobbin and Stanley Mills have all been witnessed in first team training squads giving them valuable insight and learning opportunities. The downside, if there is one, is that the Blues Under-18s find themselves regularly playing five players still just 16 years old often against players a year or two older.