Lead development phase coach, Darren Molloy, is looking forward to a busy few weeks for the club’s academy.
With the first team squad not back in action until pre-season, it’s now left to the U8-U16 to fill the void, with the highlight being the U9 and U10 teams taking part in the FC Dender International Cup tournament in Belgium at the end of the month.
Naturally both Molloy and the squad are excited by the trip.
He said: “We fly out on Saturday, May 27, and have a friendly that afternoon, so the boys can get some minutes under their belt before the elite tournament on the Sunday, where they will play a minimum of 5 games.
“It is a massive tournament with 5,000 people expected to watch so we are delighted to be a part of it and representing the UK, with 14 out of the 16 professional Belgium clubs taking part – we play Anderlecht in our group – and there are a few Dutch clubs playing as well.
“The tournament takes place just outside Brussels and will officially be the end of the season, so it would be amazing if we could do well in it.”
But before that that there’s also a series of matches at the Proact to savour for all the U8-U12 age groups on Sunday, May 21.
“We’re playing against Burton Albion,” Molloy said. “We want to make it feel like a proper match day with players emerging from the tunnel to music, so the players can experience what it would be like to play in the first team.
“With the first team season finishing it means we can have a bit more flexible time to do different things with the academy and get the final games of the season finished.”
Tournament experience is nothing new for the academy, with all age groups having participated in one at some stage over the season. Indeed, several teams recently took part in the Pilgrim Cup, where they performed admirably.
On the teams’ performance, Molloy said: “The Pilgrim Cup is an annual tournament set up by Boston United where over 100 teams take part in each age group.
“It’s a long day but they all played well and most teams reached the quarter-final or semi-final stages. We came up against strong teams like Nottingham Forest, Derby County and Norwich City and other academies.
“Unfortunately, we had no winners this time, but they all did well considering that only the winner of each group makes it through to the knockout stage.”
So after busy period and season a summer break is more than deserved and Molloy believes that after such a successful campaign the players will all come back refreshed for the 2017/18 season.
He added: “The boys will have six to eight weeks off, so they can rest and get fit for next season, where we usually start training in the last week of July or the first week in August.
“The season for our age group has been brilliant, and it’s been a good one for the academy as a whole with some of the older lads signing professional contracts, but the main thing for me is to make sure the boys are enjoying the football and developing as players.”