NIGEL Clough has highlighted the importance of giving Academy players the chance to experience the first team environment.
The back four that started against Nuneaton Borough in the Birmingham Senior Cup on Tuesday night contained three Academy players. Rueben Lal, Ben Hart and Tom Armitage all started the game alongside first team captain Jake Buxton.
Ahead of Friday’s FA Youth Cup tie with Coventry City at the Pirelli Stadium, Clough has said that he was pleased to be able to give the Young Brewers a chance to experience men’s football, as it will be key to their development.
He said: “The biggest benefit that we get is that we had three players from the Academy playing at 16, 17 years old (against Nuneaton).
“When they are playing against a National League North side, against men and against players like Carl Baker, who played for Nuneaton against us, I think that playing that one game is probably worth playing 15 or 20 games at youth level. It is great experience to play against men and get knocked about a bit.
“It is proper men’s, physical football, which at 16, 17 years old, they are yet to experience that. It will be great for them. That is one of the reasons, because they are playing games like that for us, that the likes of Reece Hutchinson, Ben Fox and Joe Sbarra make the step-up to the first team level, because they have played in those games in recent years.”