Mansfield Town under-18s host Scunthorpe United under-18s tomorrow at RH Academy in a Youth Alliance Merit League fixture (11am kick-off).
The team has shone in recent weeks with a side including numerous players from younger age groups.
The young guns' performance in the previous Youth Alliance Merit League fixture was a fine example of the impressive work being produced at RH Academy. Jack Deakin (brace), Noah Aynsley-Johnson, Curtis Davies and Cody Collins all netted in an inspired Mansfield display during a 5-1 win over Harrogate Town earlier in the month.
The successful emergence of youngsters such as under-15s’ defenders Cormac Maher and Elliot Hartmann is testament to the academy’s ethos of trusting youth in playing in older age groups.
Under-18s’ regulars, Darrien Wauchope, Cody Collins (defender) and Charlie Carter (midfielder) started in the under-23s’ Notts Senior Cup semi-final win on Wednesday against Newark, with other members of the youth team being involved off the bench.
Academy manager Richard Cooper praised the under-18s' players for their involvement in the 7-1 victory.
“The match was another great experience for our younger players, in a semi-final against a men’s first team,” he said.
“Our younger players are learning minute by minute on the pitch.”
Professional development phase youth coach Sam Collins echoed the views of the academy manager by saying: “We’ve had first-year scholars play in the under-23s games and we’ve had under-15s players making regular appearances for our under-19s.
“What we are effectively trying to do is challenge them [the players] as much as possible.
“They may not see the benefit initially as from a physical point of view it is really tough, but within a few years’ time the more we can expose them to that [football in older age groups] the more they are going to develop.”
The under-18s’ fixture this Saturday is free to attend.
The match will take place at: RH Academy, Woburn Ln, Pleasley, Mansfield NG19 7RT.
The fixture will kick-off at 11am.
Supporters are advised not to attend if experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.