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U18s: Nicky Spooner's season review

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1 U18s: Nicky Spooner's season review on Fri May 12 2017, 13:14

karlypants

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Having taken over the reins of the club’s Under-18s team last summer, Nicky Spooner has been hugely pleased with his players’ efforts during the 2016/17 campaign.

Finishing fourth in the U18 Professional Development League 2 table, the Whites’ youngsters picked up 12 wins, eight draws and suffered just eight defeats in their 28 outings.

And speaking following the conclusion of their domestic exploits for the current campaign, Spooner praised his team for their endeavour and hard work over the last nine months.

“It’s been a difficult season for the lads, but they’ve really stepped up to the plate,” he said. “Obviously it’s been great because they’ve been able to have a taste of Under-23s football, but we have been balancing numbers throughout the campaign.

“They’ve done excellently though – they’ve risen to the challenge and although it’s been mixed groups for much of the season, they’ve really impressed and that’s reflected in the results they’ve picked up.

“The schoolboys have come into the fray too as well, with a lot making their debuts for the Under-18s throughout the season as a whole.

“The first years that we brought through on the scholarships last summer though have got lots of football under their belts which is always a positive, whereas the second years have figured prominently for the Under-23s.

“Last week in our final game, we had seven Under-16s playing which is fantastic for all involved as you can really see the progression.”

Also reflecting on his own first full season in charge of the Under-18s, Spooner said, “I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s obviously a bit more competitive and the development gets a bit more serious for the lads too.

“I’ve been here a long time and started out with the Under-9s – I actually had Harry Brockbank, one of our young players, in that age group, so it’s been nice to work with players all the way through their development.”

He continued: “Generally though, having everybody at Lostock now is tremendous for the boys – we’re all together, from the youth sides to the first team.

 “The boys know what is expected of them though and they can see exactly what they’ve got to do to get in the first team as it is right there in front of them.

“They can see a pathway at the end of the day and that’s massively important at any football club – they can see the progression to the first team.”

“There are always opportunities for the lads to impress across the board and the manager Phil Parkinson and his team have been hugely supportive throughout the season.

 “They pay a massive interest in how the lads are doing – they regularly attend the Under-18s games and they’re just generally very supportive of the work we’re doing here.

“There’s no let-up though, despite our season being finished now – planning has already started for next season. 

“We’ve just signed ten first-year scholars up and hopefully they’ll all progress and do well for the football club as the current crop are doing at the moment.”

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