AFC Sudbury hope to develop their stars of the future through a new link-up with the championship-winning Colne Football College.
This season AFC Sudbury will enter an under-19s side in the highly-respected Football Conference Youth Alliance Premier Divison, playing against the likes of AFC Wimbledon, Woking, Oxford United and Histon with players drawn from Colne College.
The youngsters will benefit from using the educational facilities available to the MEL Group Stadium as well as coaching from the AFC Sudbury Grassroots coaches as part of their development, but will play home games at Colne College.
The Colne Football College had previously played in partnership with Brightlingsea Regent FC, winning three championships in the last four seasons, but under new league regulations all senior clubs must be competing at step four or above of the football pyramid.
Mark Pearman, chief executive of AFC Sudbury, said: “Like AFC Sudbury, Colne College has an exceptional record in developing youths and we are delighted to be entering such a significant development programme.
“This is the final piece in our youth development jigsaw and one that we anticipate will have significant benefit to all levels of our footballing aspirations, for many years to come.”
n Meanwhile, trialists Gary Bansor and David Lorimer again featured in pre-season action for Nicky Smith’s first team, in the 1-1 draw at Ridgeons League First Division side Fakenham Town on Saturday.
Youngster Ryan Henshaw got a second-half goal in a game which saw a first appearance for James Baker.
AFC travel to Halstead Town tomorrow night (7.45pm) before a trip to face FC Clacton on Tuesday (7.45pm).