Cobblers boss Keith Curle has paid tribute to the club’s academy in the wake of four more under-18s players being offered professional contracts at the PTS Academy Stadium.
Scott Pollock, Ryan Hughes, Jack Newell and Bradley Lashley have all been offered their first senior deals, taking the tally from their age-group to be handed pro contracts up to seven.
Morgan Roberts, Jay Williams and Camron McWilliams have already put pen to paper to commit their immediate futures to the Cobblers, and Curle admits the club is blessed to have such a lot of homegrown talent coming through.
“It is unusual to offer seven players out of 10 professional contracts, but that is a sign of how highly we rate these players,” said Curle.
“Most of them have already played for the first team and we see potential for them to be able to develop further.
“It is a huge tribute to the infrastructure of the club, and to the academy, that so many local players are coming through in to the squad.
“It helps the club’s identity and it helps the supporters identify with these boys, many of whom are Cobblers supporters too.”
The awarding of the contracts to the quartet means the Cobblers are going to have a lot of teenage players in their squad next season, and Curle has revealed a new member of coaching staff will be employed to look after their needs.
As well as the seven from the under-18s, there is also Sean Whaler from the year above on the books, and the Town boss is keen to find the best way to develop the group of youngsters.
“The Academy has been a huge success story for the club in recent times and our plan now is to ensure these young players have the best possible opportunity to continue to develop and to become first team players in time,” said Curle.
“With that in mind we will be recruiting an additional member of coaching staff in the summer who will come in with particular responsibility for the young players.
“Of course, the players know only too well this is where the hard work starts.
“They all know they need to continue to improve and develop and competition for places will continue to be very tough next season, but for now we congratulate the boys, their families and the staff in the academy for their work.”
The coach who has worked the most closely with the Town youngsters over the past couple of seasons is under-18s coach Jon Brady, and he is delighted they now have the chance to take their careers to the next level.
“Having worked with these boys over the last few years, I know how much ability they have and the first class attitude they have,” said Brady.
“Seven out of 10 is a very high number of professional players, and not only is that a tribute to how hard the boys work, it shows how much faith Keith Curle and the first team staff have in the academy here and the young players at the club.”