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Support United's commitment to youth

FC fans will have noticed a new name on the scoresheet from our game against New Mills in the Premier Cup this week.

Frank Van Gills made his first team debut and celebrated with a goal, marking his progression from our new Development Squad, which was formed for this season.

The youngsters take on Hyde FC at the Abbey Stadium in Gorton (M18 7HD) on Thursday night at 7.45pm, so get along and cheer our next generation of FC players.

The Development Squad has this season replaced the under-18s team. It is an under-21s side, which we have entered into the Lancashire League east division.

After five games the reds are handily placed in second in the table.

Reds’ first team manager Karl Marginson explained the reasons behind the changes: “FC United has always been about more than the first team, and supporters will remember we had a reserve team a few years ago,” he said.

“We’ve always had to be careful with budgets, and the finances and player development priorities at the time meant we couldn’t continue with a reserve team.

"We recognised that developing young players through into our first team squad was perhaps one of the most important things we could do for the future of the club, and we set up the youth squad.

“The youth squad upper age limit was 18 so once a player became too old for this age group, he was lost to the club unless and until he proved good enough to move up into the first team.

“Working within our budgetary constraints and to avoid the under-18s squad duplicating the academy course we have undertaken with The Manchester College, it made sense to replace the under-18s squad with the new under-21s squad, which in turn will bridge that gap between players aged 18 and the first team squad.

"We have plans to reintroduce an additional and refashioned under-18s set up once we get to our ground.

“This season our younger players will be developed at the academy, with the most able moving up into the under-21s squad, and the best players from there will get the chance to play for the first team.”

As part of the new set up, Chuks Akuneto has taken charge of the Development Squad. Chuks, who was first team coach last season, is working alongside Paul Bright from the Youth Football Academy at The Manchester College.

Chuks has previous experience coaching the under-18s squad and is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

He said: “This is another bold step by the club and I am really excited to be working with this squad – potentially I’ll be working with some players for the second time and it will be great to help prepare and develop them for the first team.

“Manchester United’s A and B teams used to play in the Lancashire League, it is a good standard and we are confident that it will prove a good test for our players.

"We will all be very proud to represent FC United in this league.”

Home games take place at the Manchester College Nicholls Campus in Ardwick (Ford Street, M12 6BA) kicking off at 11am on a Saturday, which gives fans a chance to attend two FC United games on the same day, if fixtures allow…

For further information and fixture updates, click here

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First Posted ~ 09:43 Thu 26 Sep 2013
News ID ~ 5108
Last Updated ~ 09:43 Thu 26 Sep 2013