Welwyn Garden City hope Herts Senior County League plans give youngsters better path to first-team

PUBLISHED: 06:35 12 May 2020

Brodie Carrington of Welwyn Garden City is one of the few to make the step from the U18s into the senior side. Picture: DANNY LOO

Brodie Carrington of Welwyn Garden City is one of the few to make the step from the U18s into the senior side. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2019 Archant

Welwyn Garden City are looking to make the journey into the first-team for their talented youngsters easier with the introduction of an U23 development side.

Last season they ran an U18 squad in the Southern Counties Youth League behind the senior Southern League team and it saw two of their number, Alex Harris and Brodie Carrington, make the step up.

But manager Nick Ironton says the pair were the exception as the gap between the levels was too large for most to make comfortably.

“We wanted to make it more incremental,” he said.

“I thought U23 was good and we’ll play some over-age players as well, like any of the first-team squad coming back from injury for example.

“We can also play the U18s plus any trialists or other players coming in.

“We haven’t got the budget to go out and pay for players so if we can get one or two of the youngsters to come through, playing the way we want them to play and integrated within the first-team, that can only bode well for the future.

“We had to loan players out and sometimes those players didn’t come back, some got disillusioned because they didn’t think they would get a chance in the first team.

“And it’s extremely hard to get back into the team if you’re out with injury and not fit.

“This way hopefully they can play two or three games and be ready to come back in to the first-team when needed.”

The plan would see the U18s withdraw from the youth league and the new development side play in the Herts Senior County League, should they be elected.

And initial discussions following their application have been encouraging with the hope being that they will be placed in the Premier Division, three levels below the Southern League Division One Central seniors.

No manager has yet been appointed although applications have started to come in.

Ironton said: “At the moment we cannot really do anything because nobody knows what’s happening.

“But I’ve had a lot of enquiries, a lot of people interested and all good candidates

“So once I’ve got the chance to eventually talk to them all I’ll make a decision.”

The club would be happy to hear from anyone interested in the position.

Those that are should, email their CV to the club’s football secretary Phil Ravitz on philravitz@yahoo.co.uk for consideration.

Meanwhile all plans surrounding the Citizens’ first team remain on hold as the decision with regards to a start date for the new season has yet to be made.

City were fourth when last year’s campaign was declared null and void for all leagues from step three down in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Discussions remain onging in the divisions above, including the Premier League and EFL, as to what they will do with regards to last season.

While they do, and while the government decides when sport in general can return, nothing can be done for WGC and their divisional rivals.

That means all news on new signings, those players leaving or even pre-season friendlies remain on hold.

Ironton said: “I must thank all the boys for everything they did last year. They had an exceptional season and played brilliantly.

“But we’ve got no idea what budget we’ll have or when we’ll start and every club is in the same predicament.

“It’s no good promising people this or that if there is no clarity and we have none at all.

“The club have been great, we’ve had a couple of meetings on Zoom and laid out plans as bet as we can but it is in the lap of the gods until we get out of this situation.

“Until then I can’t see how you can plan ahead.”

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