With pre-season drawing to a close Academy Manager Dan Harris updates us on the latest news from the u7s-u23s Academy programme:
"This coming week sees not only the start of the league season for the first team but also the beginning of the fixture programme for our u18s and u23 sides. Both of our senior development squads have had tough training camps to try and replicate the work that the first team have been doing and open up the competitive phase of their games programmes this week with games against Bournemouth and Gillingham respectively. The challenge of setting up a completely new squad alongside delivering a full u18s pre-season programme shouldn’t be underestimated and it is important to recognise the outstanding work that all our Academy staff have done in achieving this – particular thanks goes to Jonny Edmunds, Holly Pickett and Ed Evans who have seen a significant increase in their already heavy workloads…class.
It has been great to see so many young players being given the opportunity by Karl Robinson to train and play with the first team over this pre-season period. Fabio Lopes, Owen James and Dejon Noel-Williams have all featured in first team fixtures whilst Shandon Baptiste, Armani Little and Malachi Napa have also impressed - the challenge for all these young men is to now build on this progress and keep improving over the coming months.
In our younger age groups Darren Purse and Kelvin Alexis have made a strong start with our u16s overseeing a comfortable win over Coventry City and running a talented West Ham side close. On the recruitment side we have made a real commitment to becoming much more visible out across the region and have had scouts at over 20 tournaments this summer. We are pleased to have also added Gareth Hamer to our recruitment team who was previously scouting for Aston Villa – Gareth and our new Head of Academy Recruitment Kieran Hayes have been integral to getting the new Bicester Development Centre off the ground and we look forward to seeing that grow over the coming months.
I would also like to put on record my thanks to all at Oxford City who have been fantastic hosts over the last 4 weeks as we have been based down at their Marsh Lane site whilst work on our new training ground is completed. It has been great working alongside the team down at City and we look forward to continuing this relationship as our part-time programme re-starts this week.
Finally I would like to wish our first team every success for the new season from all at the Academy – we’re looking forward to supporting Karl, his staff and players as we embark on what promises to be an exciting new chapter for the club.
Make sure you follow the Official Academy Twitter feed @AcademyOUFC to stay up to date with all the Youth Development news here at Oxford United.
Proud History: Bright Future