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'Hard work starts now' for Bolton Wanderers' new pros

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

'Hard work starts now' for Bolton Wanderers' new pros 14871121

B Team boss Matt Craddock is delighted to see several youngsters sign professional contracts at Wanderers – but says the hard work starts now.

Sam Inwood, Sonny Sharples and Noah Halford all signed their first professional deals last month and will now move into the professional ranks.

The trio have all featured for the B Team this term and Craddock has been pleased with their development in recent months.

He reckons it is testament to the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes in the Academy ranks.

“It is really positive news, and we have got more players coming through,” he told The Bolton News.

“The lads who signed contracts this week, we are delighted for them because Academy football is tough.

“It is a bit of a roller coaster and you have to commit a lot, that is parents as well as the players themselves.

“These are celebratory moments for the players and their support network, so I am really pleased for those lads. They are good players with potential, and they are good people as well.

“But the hard work starts now and that is the conversations we have been having. Now they are stepping into the men’s game with players who are trying to take the shirts from the first-team players.

“I think it shows the good work the Academy is doing at the moment, I think we are in a good place.”

First-year scholar Sean Hogan stepped up to the B Team squad last month, playing the full 90 minutes against Fleetwood.

Craddock was pleased with the defender’s display against the Cod Army and says he had to adapt his game due to the step up in physicality compared to youth football.

“Sean has been doing well for the Under-18s. He is only a first-year scholar so he is young,” the manager added.

“His strength in the Under-18s is his physicality but when you come and play men’s football, that evens itself out.

“He has then got to be intelligent with his positioning, timing and movement. Those things come with experience, so I am really pleased we managed to get him some game time.

“I think he did well for 90 minutes, it was a big challenge for him and we have got loads of clips that we can go through to help him get better.”

Wanderers finished the Central League campaign in seventh place after drawing 0-0 at Wrexham in their final fixture. The young Whites picked up 11 points from their 12 matches in total including three wins.

They were without the likes of Adam Senior, Conor Carty and Max Conway for a significant number of those games, with the youngsters heading out on loan to gain experience.


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