Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley is hoping the club can emulate Crewe Alexandra’s academy success in the near future.
Saturday’s opponents Crewe have brought a number of players through their academy over the last 20 years and this is something Cowley would love to have at Sincil Bank now the club are back in league football.
Established Premier League players such as Danny Murphy and Dean Ashton have come through Crewe’s academy and in April 2013 the Cheshire club fielded a whole starting 11 of academy graduates.
Speaking to The Lincolnite, Cowley said: “We’ve worked really hard with the academy and we’re in a much better position now, compared to this time last year when we didn’t have the central funding for the academy.
“We also weren’t able to protect our players last year being a non-league team and we were losing a lot of our best younger players to other football league clubs and now we’ve got protection over them.
“For us, if we want to have sustained success we want to try and develop our own [players] and certainly a new training ground will help us do that and give us the facilities to put that provision in place.
“Crewe have done it fantastically over a number of years.”
Cowley also heaped praise on 16-year-old Ellis Chapman who made his second appearance for The Imps in Tuesday night’s 2-1 Checkatrade Trophy victory over Notts County.
“We’ve got some good young players like Chapman and it was good to see him come onto the pitch on Tuesday night when we were drawing 1-1 against the league leaders.
“He showed all of his capabilities and the fact we’re able to trust a 16-year-old boy says everything about what we think of him as a person.”