Read Andy Awford's Yeovil programme notes
Thank you to the supporters who applauded, cheered and chanted after seeing the Under-18s awarded with the Youth Alliance League trophy at half-time on Saturday at the Notts County game.
It was greatly received by us all at the Academy and the lads really enjoyed their deserved lap of honour and were all pretty emotional at the response that you rightly gave them. It will certainly stay with them for a long time. Thank you!
The Under-18s concluded their league programme on Saturday as we hosted Northampton Town on the new 4G astro pitch at local school Lea Manor. After the huge effort in Wednesday night's victorious FA Youth Cup game away at Oldham Athletic, we decide to give the apprentices a breather and play a much younger side than normal, giving vital experience to all our under-16 players and a couple of under-15s as well. The boys gave a very good account of themselves and although going down 3-0, we were pleased to expose our young players to a much older team and the experience they gained from this will only stand them in good stead for the future.
This approach is something we will look to impose quite regularly between now and the end of the season. Obviously our full-time apprentices will still feature heavily in the FA Youth Cup at Preston North End in the fifth round - now confirmed for Wednesday 10th February - and the Southern Area League Cup Final on 23rd February at Kenilworth Road. They will also be involved in the stronger Merit League fixtures, but we will certainly offer our young under-16s and under-15s an opportunity to play in a lot of Under-18 fixtures this season as this will only improve them for the better in the long run.
May I take this opportunity to thank some friends of the club and the Academy. First of all, another huge thank you to SoLYD, who have again offered to pay for the Under-18s travel costs for the upcoming FA Youth Cup fixture away at Preston. SoLYD covered all travel costs for the previous round away at Oldham Athletic and have again come up trumps with this gesture. The Luton Bobbers Travel Club have also offered to chip in with meeting part of these costs and I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to them also.
As explained before, this financial support helps the team prepare as professionally as possible, whilst allowing them to experience travelling to an away game as the first team would, which obviously enlightens their overall education. Thank you - and hopefully we can get through and take our place in the quarter-finals.