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YOUNGSTERS WILL BE FOUNDATION OF FUTURE SUCCESS

17 January 2019

NIGEL Clough is looking for the current crop of young players to be the foundation of the next big Burton Albion success story.

One of the big pluses of the season has been the way Academy graduates have made an impact on the first team.

The Brewers manager said: “The likes of Marcus Harness, Ben Fox, Reece Hutchinson and Joe Sbarra all want to be part of the next big success we have here. We feel we are very close and those four can play a big part in it.

“When you are often operating with 16 outfield players then these four are 25 per cent of your squad. If we can get another one or two through the Academy in the next couple of years than that would be brilliant.

“For a relatively new Academy to get four players through to the first team in League One I don’t see that in too many other teams.”

Leading the way is Reece Hutchinson who has made a strong claim for the left back position this season.

Clough said: “Reece has far exceeded the expectation we have had at the beginning of the season. Because we don’t have an under 23 team as a stepping stone between the Academy and the first team then it’s straight from youth football to the first team.

“He played a couple of games pre-season and impressed us then and has kept up his progress since. It speaks volumes for him that he is keeping Damien McCrory out of the team.

“Joe Sbarra, Marcus Harness, Ben Fox will get opportunities as well and they have been like a breath of fresh air, their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. It shows what an important role the Academy plays at this club.

“We have a decision with Joe Sbarra as to whether to send him out on loan or involve him. We want to try and get him involved when we can and getting him on against Manchester City gave him a big lift.

“We have a decision to make in terms of whether we sacrifice him for six months in order to further his career and for him to improve so it’s a tricky one.”


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