City fans will be able to get a glimpse into the future on Saturday when some of the club’s most exciting youngsters take part in an Academy showcase fixture on the main pitch at the LNER Stadium.
Ash Foyle’s youth team is expected to include the likes of Hayden Cann, Elicha Ahui and Morgan Worsfold-Gregg after returning from loan spells to feature against the Youth Alliance North East division champions Bradford City.
Foyle said: "Despite missing Oisin Gallagher, Freddie Draper and Jovon Makama through injury, we should have one of our strongest squads to pick from for the final game of the season, and playing on the pitch at the LNER Stadium will be a great experience for the boys.
"Bradford are a very strong team who have won the league, so it'll be a very competitive game. We hope a good number of our fans will stay behind to see our young players, some of whom we hope can emulate Sean Roughan, Freddie Draper and Sam Long in graduating from the youth team to make starting appearances in League One.”
A young City side could finish as high as third in the Youth Alliance North East division, despite the policy of putting individual development ahead of results. While some clubs have taken advantage of a rule that allows them to play three U19 first year pros, we have our two U19 first year pros (Sean Roughan & Sam Long) playing for Drogheda in Ireland and five second year scholars (Hayden, Elicha, Morgan, Jovon & Freddie) out on loan since Christmas. This has resulted in our team often being a mixture of Under 15s, Under 16s and first year scholars (Under 17’s) and facing opponents with a mixture of mainly Under 18s and Under 19s.
Foyle added: "We have been young throughout the season compared to other teams but that is what we want – to provide our players with an appropriate level of challenge. For the older boys, that is out on loan in senior football and for the younger ones, as well as those still within the schoolboy programme, that has been in this competition.
"The long-term benefit for individual development, which is our overwhelming driver, far outweighs short-term results."