David Batch wants AFC Sudbury to become magnet for Suffolk and Essex's best young players
AFC Sudbury manager David Batch wants the club to become a magnet for the region's best young talent.
The ambitious Ryman League Division One North club are setting up a brand-new under-18s side next season, along with a full-time academy, with the intention of producing up-and-coming players for the first team for years to come.
“We are completely building our under-21s and 18s in one go,” said Batch.
“We want to make sure we can become a magnet for good, young, players in Suffolk and Essex and we have some joining us and are shortly going to be hosting meetings with players (in the under-18 and 21 age groups).
“Some of our younger targets have already played senior football and we want to make sure that our club is known as a place where they are going to learn and get better.
“We will not open the door to anyone, we know who we want to bring in, and we want to create a conveyor belt of talent for years to come.”
Batch is also keen on a short-term fix too and has earmarked a number of more experienced performers who can step into the first team straight away.
That said, he won’t hesitate in fielding younger faces, should he think they are ready for the rigours of Ryman North football.
“We want to add four or five experienced players to add to the senior squad we have,” said Batch.
“But I won’t hesitate in playing some of the younger players if they are ready.
“I fielded five or six under-18s towards the end of last season and they all did really well. If they are good enough, they will have a chance straight away.”
Meanwhile, AFC will host four professional clubs in pre-season.
Ipswich Town (August 5, 7.45pm), Norwich City (July 24, 7.30pm) and Cambridge United (August 1, 7.45pm) will all play against the AFC first XI, with Colchester United playing the club’s under-18s.
Other friendlies include a home match against Bury Town, Hadleigh United and Felixstowe & Walton United, and will travel to Walsham-le-Willows, King’s Lynn and Diss Town.
“I expect many of our talented young players – both the current ones and the ones set to join us – to have the chance alongside senior players in many of these games,” Batch added.