Danny Laws has set his young AFC Sudbury Reserves side a mid-table target in the cut-and-thrust of the Thurlow Nunn League First Division this season.
The side, which has developmental ambitions as much as league positions in mind, finished four-from-bottom last year with 35 points — but The Yellows’ director of football and youth development believes 50 points should be the aim this time around.
The club’s academy sides set the bar high across their other competitions last season — completing the quadruple with the campaign-ending Thurlow Nunn League Youth Championship Play-Off Final adding to holding aloft the Thurlow Nunn League Youth Cup, Suffolk Under-18 Midweek Cup and Thurlow Nunn Youth League South Division. And that comes without mentioning taking Swindon Town all the way to a penalty shootout, which they went on to lose, in the FA Youth Cup.
But Laws now wants to see that their highest ranked competition yields more, with a number of that squad a year older and wiser, to men’s football.
“We have got some boys in there who contributed last year. Tony Dettmar, probably played all the games last year in central midfield along with Callum Watson, who has been getting some more outings with the first team in pre-season and Ben Hunter as well.
“I am expecting them to step up to the plate and be big players for us this season.”
Plans are in the offing for third year scholars Sam Mills and Ollie Peters to get some more experience out on loan, but the pair could be available to boost the experience in the squad for a time, which includes the new in-take at the academy.
Callum Fuller and Callum Vincent are set to spearhead the club’s attack this season, after striker Mekhi McKenzie, along with goalscoring midfielder Ollie Dunlop and Joe Wright were promoted to the 2017/18 first team squad.
“They are both natural goalscorers who got more than 40 each, across all competitions, last season,” said Laws.
After Curtis Childs accepted a place at Bournemouth University and player/coach Louis Johnson moved on with new work commitments, there will be a new goalkeeper in the side with Laws having no qualms that 17-year-old Luca Collins is more than capable of shining.
“Luca is ready and he is an outstanding young goalkeeper,” he said.
A few of the academy’s new intake — under-16s — are even set to be in Laws’ thoughts for Saturday’s Step Five opener at highly-fancied Debenham LC, he revealed.
Baris Altinop, a centre-back and left-back Marcel Walter are both said to already posses the physical attributes to handle Thurlow Nunn First Division football.
Little Oakley and Norwich CBS, formerly known as Spixworth, as well as Norwich United Reserves are all new sides that Laws’ academy side will be coming up against this season.