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Chelmsford City turn reserve side into under-21s

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: August 16, 2012

positive:  City chairman  Mansell Wallace

positive: City chairman Mansell Wallace

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CHELMSFORD City have re-structured their reserve team in order to stop promising youngsters slipping through the net.

In previous seasons players emerging from the club's Under 18 set-up and SOCA academy have left for pastures new with older players blocking their path in to the Clarets' second string.

But now, by making the reserves an exclusively under 21 side, it's hoped they'll stay on and progress through to Glenn Pennyfather's side. It's also hoped the changes will encourage more young guns to sign up for the club.

Chairman Mansell Wallace, said: "Various people were quite good local players and played for Chelmsford City reserves because they likes the kudos of playing for Chelmsford City reserves but the people weren't really of a standard that were going to knock on the door of the first team.

"We think we're letting a lot of talent go very young in out youth system and scouts from a lot of the London clubs are poaching lads and various lads are going off to join various clubs because their parents can see there's no structure beyond under 18 level at Chelmsford City."

As last term the team will play in the Capital League and will be managed by Larry Bayford and Andy Haywood. Wallace says it's the next step towards preparing a full academy system at Chelmsford City which can only be implemented if they get promotion to Blue Square Bet Premier.

Mr Wallace said: "We're hoping it's going to encourage a lot more and a lot better youngsters to actually come and play for Chelmsford City.

"What we're doing it setting up the structure so that if we get promoted next season when don't have to re-invent the wheel."

Former reserve team manager Bob Batchford, who has been in the post for the past four seasons, will take up a new role as first-team assistant coach. He will provide the key link between the reserves and the first-team.

Mr Wallace added: "Bob is good with young talent, he's good at recognising it. He brought Ricky Modeste through, Mark Haines through and Anthony Cook through. They all came through Bob's reserve system and he's got one or two from the reserves last season that are trialling for the first team."

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