Fleetwood Town’s Under-18s have brought through nine new first year scholars to the squad to join the current crop of young talent for the 2023/24 season.
The Under-18s have been hitting heights in recent years, with lifting the North West Alliance League trophy back in 2021, as well as reaching the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup, where they lost out to Manchester City.
Now it’s the chance for the new-crop to make their mark in the thriving academy, and with the young Cods returning to training earlier on this week, they whole group are now set for a gruelling programme until the first game of the season.
In this article, we will introduce all nine of the new players:
‘Ollie’ joins the Cod Army after a number of years at Nottingham Forest. The young goalkeeper has put pen to paper on a two-year scholarship following a successful trial in January 2023.
Previously registered with his hometown club, Birmingham City, Ollie comes with relative Academy experience, which he showed towards the end of the 2022/23 season with positive performances for the U18s.
He will no doubt be looking to learn from his peers and joins Rueben Woodward, Pat Boyes, Tom Donaghy, and Stephen McMullan in the Professional Development Phase.
‘Raf’ is a right back who first joined Fleetwood Towns Academy at Under-15s after being scouted at grassroots level in his hometown of Great Harwood.
He comes from a football family, with brother Lennie representing Championship side Blackburn Rovers, progressing through the youth set up in recent years.
Raf is an athletic full-back who likes to get forward and affect the final third.
Josh has been with Town's Academy since Under-12s. The big 6ft 3' centre half from Ramsbottom will be looking to make an impact in Under-18s football next season.
Following over four years with the club, Josh can play on either the left or right side of the defence, allowing Mark Yeates some flexibility in the back line.
Crispin is a central midfielder who has come from north of the border. The midfielder started off his career at Glasgow Rangers before making the move to Hibernian for a short period.
Possessing excellent technical ability, Crispin will be looking to stake a regular place in the Under-18s team and drive the team from midfield.
Liam - just like fellow Cod Josh Eccles - has been with the club since the Under-12s and played on the left side of midfield.
Liam has already made huge strides for the Under-18s at Fleetwood, first making his youth debut as an Under-15 in 2021, before contributing to the historic FA Youth Cup run in 2022/23.
He also experienced success last pre-season, playing a major part in the Under-16 Cods victory in the Icelandic Rey Cup, beating Brighton & Hove Albion in the final.
Jake is a local lad who has been with the Academy for several years. Naturally a left back, Jake possesses the energy to drive forwards with the ball and affect the final third with good play.
He is yet to make his debut for the Under-18s but has been part of the Day Release programme for two seasons to support his transition in full-time.
Harry is a very tenacious central midfielder who has been with the club for several years. Naturally a left footer, Harry is a player who is full of desire and understands everything Fleetwood Town is about.
He possesses good tactical knowledge of when and how to affect the final third and is plays with character and high energy consistently.
Harvey joined Fleetwood from Blackburn Rovers on a two-year scholarship this summer following a successful trial. He began his career at Liverpool as a youngster, playing alongside current Under-16 and fellow centre forward, Mikey Lane.
He was released from Liverpool and headed north to Blackburn as a youngster and has developed into a point number nine forward.
Standing above six-foot, Harvey plays with grit and determination and possesses a cool head in front of goal and will add to the attacking flair already within the squad.
Mikey has featured regularly for our Under-18s in the past 12 months and finished the 2022/23 season as leading scorer for both the Under-16s and Under-18s respectively.
Possessing an aggressive and competitive attitude, Mikey works hard for the team with and without the ball and sets the tone of how Fleetwood Town wish to play.
His progression thus far has also led to appearances for the Under-21s squad and was also selected on the bench for the historic fifth round FA Cup tie against Burnley FC.
Academy Manager Jack Higgins on the scholars progressing to the Under-18s this summer:
“I am really pleased to see these nine first year scholars start their footballing journey with us at Fleetwood Town.
“They all come with different experiences so far and we are looking forward to seeing how they adapt to full-time football and come together as a team, alongside the second years.
“We are hopeful of completing two more first-year scholars who will add real quality to an already exciting group - one we are really pleased to put together.
“It’s also the start of a new season for Mark Yeates, who leads his first pre-season, and will no doubt get to work with these boys quite quickly.”