Brady wants to 'accelerate' progress of Cobblers' academy players after Chukwuemeka's improvement

Town boss praises young striker after recent performances

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 11:05 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 11:06 am
Homegrown midfielder Shaun McWilliams has started each of the last 13 league games for Northampton.

Jon Brady has explained his desire to 'accelerate' the development of Cobblers' academy players after praising the progress of young striker Caleb Chukwuemeka.

The 19-year-old earned his second league start of the season against Ipswich Town last Tuesday following several lively cameos off the bench in recent weeks.

He impressed in an attacking sense and did so again off the bench against Gillingham at the weekend, playing a part in both goals, but it is out of possession where his manager wants to see an improvement.

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Brady admits it is a delicate balance between risk and reward when throwing young players into the first-team, but having spent several years working in the academy, he is delighted to see so many talented youngsters come through the ranks.

Shaun McWilliams has started the last 13 games in a row, while academy goalkeeper Charlie Woods and teenage midfielder Liam Cross have also made the bench in recent matches.

"We've had a few academy graduates on the bench and they've done well to be pushing to get in there," said Brady.

"It was great to give Caleb a start (against Ipswich) and he did very well in possession. There are little issues out of possession but those are things we are working on with him. He's been a breath of fresh air and the boys really looked after him on the pitch.

"It's great for this football club that we're developing our own talent because you've also got Shaun McWilliams in there and he's been a real driving force in that midfield for us and he's another fantastic talent that came through the academy. That shows we're developing players in-house as well."

On Chukwuemeka, Brady (speaking before Gillingham) added: "What Caleb has done is earn the right. He's been very good when he's come on and, offensively, he did very well on Tuesday night.

"But that has been a progression of him and getting better and better in training and us talking to him, helping him, guiding him and the coaching staff have really worked hard with him. That's now you nurture young talent.

"We work on the things they need to improve and then combine that with the principles that we set within our game and how we play. It's about really developing that player through that and I think we need to be better at that."

And now he's in charge of first-team matters, Brady believes he can help to 'accelerate' that development, although that doesn't necessarily mean throwing them straight into the first-team.

He continued: "Now I'm in the building and I'm managing the first-team, I feel we need to put things in place and really help accelerate these young players' development even more - I'm so keen to do that.

"I'm a manager who gets out on the grass and you can't get me off there. I've got so much energy and enthusiasm to develop anyone, whether they're 16 or 35!

"With the way this season has gone, we haven't been able to play many reserve games due to COVID but if a player isn't performing in training, you can't just wave a magic wand and hope he turns up in a game.

"But you can do your in-house stuff and you do get a feel when the time is right."