Non League Daily

Nuneaton aim to match professional clubs with new Youth setup

With the increasingly stringent nature of finances in non-league football clubs now look to other methods to help ease the burden. 

Vanarama Conference club Nuneaton Town believe they can achieve this by looking to develop their youth system and have already taken the first step to doing exactly that.

This week brought the announcement that the club have appointed Russ Horsley as their new 'Head of Youth Development and he has been tasked with improving how the club progresses young players, with a view to them competing for a place in the first team.

The Conference club have a clear vision of what they want from their new youth development, that much is clear from the announcement of the new setup. It is a vision that Horsley shares in and he expressed his hopes that they could replicate what is seen up and down the country at professional clubs, albeit working within tighter financial constraints.

"Five years down the line I would hope we will have a fully established Under 21 side, backed up by a full-time 16-18 academy setup. Below that we will develop the junior sides and replicate what is seen at professional clubs, admittedly on a smaller budget. The main aim is to produce first team quality players for Liam to use and maybe a few to develop into the professional game too"

Horsley has already held meetings with First Team Manager Liam Daish and revealed that the former Republic of Ireland international is keen to unearth players

And he revealed that the process of establishing a fully functioning youth system is one that more clubs will be taking over the coming years, with Town already beginning their search for players and coaching staff.

"We have an idea of coaches and players we would like to bring in. I have a background in youth football so know what I want. This club has had no youth players develop into first team players in the recent past so that is something we need to address. The way things are financially in football at the moment, I think more clubs at our level will be looking to do this”

The task of moulding players to play in the first team at the James Parnell Stadium is one that Horsley is comfortable with and he was delighted with the response of Daish in the early meetings that have taken place and he revealed that he believes youth will get it's chance under the former Coventry City player.

"He has a focus on giving youth a chance and that is something I could see very early on. We talk daily about the aims and objectives I have in place and how they fit into the wider plans for the club. Our meetings are all positive and I know what he wants. We both want to find players to play football the right way, to be technically able to play that way and obviously to produce real quality"

There are immediate challenges facing Horsley and he admitted that they would have to be overcome quickly if the youth development is to be successful.

"The timescales we have are a challenge. Obviously we are near the end of the season and that means we have to get appropriate competition and matches for our players. But not just any games, we have to get the appropriate games against quality opposition to challenge them and to get the best possible use out of them"

Photo: Simon Kimber

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