NIGEL Clough is pleased with the progress being made by a crop of youngsters on Albion’s books.
He said: “Marcus Dinanga is out on loan at Matlock, is scoring goals and it’s great experience for him. It’s not about toughening up but the young lads need to play men’s football and playing for Matlock will harden him a little bit.
“Ben Fox is out at Tamworth for the same reason. Joe Sbarra, it’s still a bit early for him (to go out on loan) and he trains with the first team occasionally which is all part of the learning process.”
Sbarra shone again in the 7-1 Birmingham Senior Cup tie against Hednesford, scoring three times.
Clough said: “He picked the ball up in some very good positions. His finishing dictates that he should be playing off a striker or just behind two strikers. His three finishes were excellent. When he’s played for the under 23s he’s also done well. He’s not a million miles off being on the bench and he’s only 17.
"There are a lot of of players who went out on loan early in their careers and benefited for it – David Beckham, John Terry. When you are 18/19 and not getting regular men’s football you need to. I think Chelsea have 38 players out at the moment so they obviously think it’s beneficial.
"There’s Charlie Gatter as well and they need to be playing men’s football week-in, week-out, a place where there is a crowd there, however many, and they get used to it.
"When you think we only started the Academy five or six years ago and to have players coming through close to the first team shows how well they have done."