Training at the Academy of Light

New intake check in

by Stuart Vose

New scholars arrive at the Academy of Light.

A dozen young footballers have taken the next step in their fledgling careers by joining the club full-time.

The new intake of U18 players officially started pre-season at the Academy of Light earlier this week, kicking off their two-year scholarships.

Nine of the 12 have been with the club for a number of years, with several having already featured for the under-18 side whilst still at school.

Goalkeeper Greg Purvis, centre-back David Lowrie, left-back Denver Hume and versatile right-back Josh Robson will bolster the defensive ranks.

Meanwhile, wingers Kieran Graham and Luke Molyneux, central midfielders Daniel Pybus and Daniel Wright, and striker Andrew Nelson have also joined full-time.

The club have also acquired a trio of Ireland youth internationals, including central defender Dan Casey.

Left winger Avis Ganiyu and forward Jean-Yves Poame have also made the move across the Irish Sea.

The new arrivals have been undertaking a four-day induction before fitness testing takes place on Friday.

The football will then get under way in earnest next week ahead of the start of the programme of pre-season friendlies.

Academy manager Ged McNamee said: “The induction covers health and safety and the educational aspect, including talks from the likes of Barclays.

“The off-field activities take place this week and then we’ll start with physical testing on Friday before getting out on the grass on Monday.”

He added: “Obviously the second-years have had a year’s full-time coaching and will be at a more advanced stage than the first-years coming in.

"The boys are all on individual programmes and that individuality has to be addressed during the collective pre-season.

“The demands of the coaching they had last year will be increased again and it’s a case of gradually building that up."