What's Happening Around The Youth



I took the two youth team keepers, Brad Wilson and Chris Hurling, to a professional goalkeepers course at Staffordshire University in the week (it was a week-long course but we went for two days).

There were around 90 keepers from the Premiership and Football League on the course, and our two did great!

On the course were the likes of Russell Hoult (WBA), Andy Marshall (Ipswich), Jussi Jaaskeleinen (Bolton), Richard Wright (Everton), Carl Muggleton (now Chesterfield ex-Leicester) plus many more familiar names.

The course was run by Fred Barber (ex- Walsall, Peterborough) and Malcolm Webster (ex-Fulham, Southend, Cambridge United), who the are professional goalkeeping coaches at Bolton, West Brom and Ipswich.

The photo shows Chris Hurling (left) and Brad Wilson (right) flanked by Malcolm Webster who, incidentally, told me he played at Desborough in a game to officially mark the erection of the floodlights!!

Steve Whitney



It has been a somewhat difficult start to the campaign. Things didn't start well when, for club disciplinary reasons, we lost centre back David Haggard and then his partner Ben Asher through injury. We also had striker Adam Dainty out injured for the opening three games, so we began the campaign with a very young squad, including a back four which included two 16-year-olds and 15-year-old Sam Northern, all experiencing under-18 football for the first time.

Our opening game was against Newport Pagnell Town at The Waterworks, and, despite the problems, produced a good performance, although we struggled to make many chances. It was, therefore, extremely disappointing to lose the game 1-0 to a last-minute goal, although the lads were admonished afterwards for 'switching off' at a free-kick.

Preceeding our next game at Rockingham Road against Kettering Town we all enjoyed a pre-match meal, but I was missing a number of key players due to there being a reserve game the same night. To go into a game against a side like the young Poppies without three senior players in goalkeeper Brad Wilson, midfielder Andreas Sanders and defender Matt White was going to make it extremely tough.
And so it proved, although for the first 25 minutes we produced some excellent football and, had we managed to take a couple of chances that came our way during this period, things might well have turned out differently.
In the end, though, after Kettering scored there was no way back and they showed the advantage of full-time training by running out 6-0 winners, albeit the final scoreline was a bit hard on our lads.

Considering the result at Kettering then, to manage a goalless draw in our next game against a very big Kempston Rovers side was encouraging and showed we have a bit of character in our young side.
Again, our lack of a cutting edge showed, but, conversly we didn't look like losing either. The only bad note on the night was a serious injury to Adam Toop, who fell awkwardly after a tackle from behind and had to receive oxygen and ambulanced to hospital where it was later revealed he had suffered a double fracture of his left wrist.

In our fourth game we took the lead against Long Buckby through midfielder Ben Baines and played very well in the opening half.
Quite what I said wrong at half-time I don't know, but we were awful for the first 25 minutes of the second period and fell 2-1 behind. We threw everything at Long Buckby after that but again couldn't score.

Injuries and unavailabilities meant a weakened side travelled to Ford Sports for our fifth game, but we did extremely well against a decent side on a terrific pitch.
Ben Baines again gave us a first-half lead, but that was wiped out shortly after the break, but this time we got hold of the game again and should have won it in the end, but I would perhaps have settled for a point before the game.

Finally, it is great to see that we have no less than FIVE players currently in the County Youth squad - goalkeepers Brad Wilson and Chris Hurling, defender Ben Greasley and midfielders Callum Jenkins and Andreas Sanders.
During the 19 years I have managed at under-18 level I have had many players who have represented the county, and is actually the second time I have had my two goalkeepers in the squad at the same time - the last being when I was managing Rothwell Town and both Tom Smith and Martin Johnson were selected.
However, I am delighted to have both Brad and Chris in the squad and it's a nice, but difficult job chosing between the two for our games, although I have always stated how highly I rate Brad Wilson, who is now the regular first choice for the reserves and has already made his first-team debut.

Steve Whitney


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Last modified: 25-Sep-2007