After enjoying a short break over the Christmas period, things are back in full swing at the Rotherham United Academy. At the midway point of the current season, both staff and players alike are determined to build on the positive start they have made.
In this round-up, we spoke to Academy Manager Richard Hairyes on the form following the festive period, and he is delighted with the way in which the club’s youth development is progressing as we enter into the early stages of a new decade.
"Our U18’s continue to show promising signs for the future and they’re an excellent group to work with," he told www.themillers.co.uk.
"Following an impressive 2-1 win away to Bradford City in the first game of 2020, they were back in Youth Alliance Cup action last weekend against a strong Burton Albion side who recently beat us.
"However, that wasn’t to be the case this time around and our lads came out on top in another difficult test. In the "end, it was a convincing display and the U18’s ended up as deserved winners courtesy of goals from Jerome Greaves and Jacob Gratton.
"As every football coach will tell you, being able to manage games is vital and we are starting to see real maturity within the group now when they are in front. They’re showcasing a real ability to hold onto leads and see things out which is a great step forward in their learning.
"Ciaran Toner is the man in charge of the U18’s and he is really pleased with the way in which the lads are acquitting themselves, particularly as we had seven U17’s within the starting line-up in the fixture against the Brewers.
"We are now into the final four of the competition and Preston North End await us in the Semi-Final. That will undoubtedly provide another opportunity for the lads to test themselves against talented opposition, and I’m sure they’ll do the club proud as they have done all season.
"Our U10’s are also going from strength to strength as well and they remain unbeaten six months into the current season – that is a phenomenal achievement. They also came out on top in a tournament last weekend, and that is their second success of that kind as well, so Foundation Phase Lead Coach Dave Atkinson is over the moon with the way they are performing too.
"Finally, I’d just like to say congratulations to a lad I mentioned earlier in the column. Jacob Gratton was named as a substitute for the Sky Bet League One fixture against Fleetwood Town back in December, and that was reward for all of the hard work he’s put in. He’s a great kid who sets a fine example for the rest of the young lads."