Academy Manager and First Team Coach Mark Bonner pens an update on the latest goings on and upcoming fixtures on the Youth Development side of the Football Club.
"The Under 18 games programme within the EFL Youth Alliance offers a competitive fixture list throughout the season, but it needs to be alongside a wider development programme.
We have seen the positive impact senior match experience can have on players with Harry Darling, Tom Knowles and Matthew Foy having some excellent opportunities so far this season, and we need to ensure that appropriate challenges for our scholars exist alongside the Under 18 programme.
The South East league is now complete and having finished 3rd in the table, we now join the top six from both the south east and south west region in Merit League One, a new competition, for the remaining league games of the season.
With no fixture last weekend, it enabled some scholars to get senior football on a work experience agreement. This is similar to a loan, but allows players to play for our development team also. It's a format we have used in the past many times and will continue to do so between now and the end of the season. In fact, a number of others were due to play last Saturday but the arranged fixtures fell foul to the weather.
Prince Mutswunguma and Lee Watkins played for Haverhill Rovers as they overcame Brantham Athletic, and Finley Iron kept goal for St Neots in a 3-1 win over Chesham United.
Finley will be playing for St Neots in the weeks ahead which will be a key experience for him, whilst others will come and go on similar work experience agreements. We also want to attack Merit League One and keep a strong side for that competition, and have the Cambs Invitation Cup Semi Final with Cambridge City next Monday, so we hope that we can strike the balance between all of the opportunities and games available to create the best learning environment and challenges required for each individual."
Tickets for Monday’s (K.O. 7:45pm) Cambridgeshire FA Invitation Cup Semi-Final against Cambridge City, will be available on the gate at St Ives Town.