BURTON Albion face off against Hednesford Town tonight in the Birimgham Senior Cup and academy manager Dan Robinson spoke about how the competition can help create a pathway from the youth set-up, to the senior team.
“It’s another opportunity for our youth team players to get that exposure to playing men’s football. It’s an opportunity for them to play in a competition and mix them in with first team players. It is down as a reserve/first team game so those opportunities when they come along it is fantastic to get that experience under their belts.”
Robinson went on to speak about how playing with senior players can aid a younger players growth.
“When youth team players are doing well they get a chance to come and train with the first team and like this situation, learn by them side by side, alongside senior players who have played huge amounts of league football. Those kind of experiences you cannot get playing in youth football.”
Another key part of the pathway is the loan system. Robinson talked about how the system is used to help players grow and reach their potential.
“We have put a loan strategy together this season which involves players from the youth team who we feel, for numerous reasons, need exposure in the men’s game. We have attempted to make good contact with the local non-league clubs. We have boys at Gresley, Romulus and much more, a good level of football. Getting games at that level helps link in with the first team and opportunities such as the Birmingham Senior Cup and other reserve games, this is another way to expose players to senior level football.
“Being involved in a competition gives them a different feel to the game because we’re playing against teams that want to win the competition and it means a lot to their club. This level offers opportunities such as playing in front of a crowd, playing in a game where there may or may not be extra time and where there is gamesmanship coming into the game from the opposition or ourselves when we have got to be smart. This is a different challenge rather than just focusing on their development.”
Robinson also touched on the fantastic facilities available to the youth sides at St. George’s Park.
“We provide them with fantastic facilities at St. George’s Park and we have a really good family feel at the club which can put them in a different environment and this can challenge them in different ways.”
Ticket prices for tonight’s match are as follows (cash on the turnstiles):
• Adults - £7
• Concessions - £5
• Children (U16) - £2
Please note that tickets cannot be pre-purchased and supporters must pay cash-on-the-turnstiles at Keys Park.
The stadium address is: Hednesford Town Football Club, Keys Park, Keys Park Road, Hednesford, Staffordshire, WS12 2DZ.