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Carr Reviews the Academy's Year

21 May 2015

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With the football season at an end in the youth levels as well as for the first team, academy manager Gerry Carr reflects on the campaigns experienced by the younger squads.

The youth team had an impressive campaign, and off the back of their endeavours Laurence Maguire and Jake Beesley have been offered professional contracts at the club.

Carr spoke of his highlights: "It's been a long season and it's been very successful throughout the phases. 

"We've had a very good season with the youth team culminating in finishing a very close third in the league, into a cup semi final and a good run in the FA Youth Cup, which included knocking Aston Villa out along the way.

"I think there's been a lot of progression. It's just over two years that I've been in charge and a lot has had to change in that time with personal and the standard of player coming in - and I feel as though we're just starting to see the fruits of the last two years' work."

The academy deals with players from the age of eight and up and Carr has also been pleased with the progress among the younger age groups.

"My staff have been fantastic," he said. "And I give them a lot of ownership. Darren Malloy has been in charge of the development phase and he's worked very hard to bring in the new crop. 

"There's a very exciting group of under 9s coming in this season and I have high hopes for them. I know it's hard to tell but from the talent I've seen there's 13 or 14 kids there and the standard is very good.

"Matt Whitehouse has got the older youth development phase, it's the second year he's been here with the group and we've produced seven or eight scholars each year from our own system, so that's very pleasing."

With Paul Cook leaving the club and Dean Saunders coming in as the club's new manager, Carr feels that the academy will be able to continue its forward momentum as before.

He said: "I don't think it changes anything - I had a good relationship with the former manager and I don't see why I won't have a good relationship with the new manager Dean Saunders.

"Football evolves, it changes, and people move in if they think it's progression. However, my role doesn't change. I'll be working with Dean and bouncing off him and hopefully at some stage he'll dip into our squad for players to go on the bench and to train with the pros.

"That might open the manager's eyes to one or two players we have. For me, it's all systems go and we move forward all together as we have done in the previous two years."

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