Today four talented players from our Crawley Town Foundation Academy were selected to join up with Scott Lindsey’s first-team squad for a training session held at our Southwater training ground.
Ryan Soro Thomas, Ilias Al Meskin, Josh Clay and Saf Ahmed took part in a full day of first-team training led by Scott Lindsey, with academy head coach Rob Semark watching on.
Semark said: “Ever since Chris Galley and the new ownership group have been at the club, there has been significant interest in our programme. The players chosen to train with the team were position specific.
"We had a conversation with Scott Lindsey to see where they needed covering ahead of the game with Leyton Orient. The lads were great in the session, and it was good to see that they didn’t look out of place on the training pitch. The boys have been given a real insight into the first-team set-up, and I hope it has also given them confidence to take forward."
Thomas said: “I think it has been a great experience for us. The boys were really welcoming from the minute we walked in, and the training was really fun and challenging. We are going to benefit physically from this and get used to the aspects of the men's game and see how they play."
Speaking on the Education Academy’s season so far, Al Meskin said: “We were flying at the start of the season. We are still in a very good position in the league, but we have some tough games coming up, so we need to keep our heads down."
Manager Lindsey said: “The boys did really well. We have a few injuries throughout the squad, and we always like to do a 11vs11 on the Friday before a Saturday match, so we needed the bodies. It was a great experience for them, and it was great to have them join us.”
Director of football Chris Galley said: “This is something that we have been working on for a few months and I’m delighted to finally have some Crawley Town Community Foundation players in to train and trial with the first team.
“We did have several friendlies scheduled in the month of January, which were to help first team players build up their fitness after returning from injury, but also look at some new players, including the best players from the Community Foundation. Unfortunately, because of the poor weather conditions, they were all cancelled, and the squad was far too big to bring them into training sessions.
“We’re fortunate to have such a high-level Community Foundation on our doorstep and their performances of late have not gone unnoticed and that is mainly down to the staff – Darren, Holly, Rob, Adam, and many more are doing a fantastic job at developing these young men and long may that continue.
“By demonstrating that there is a potential pathway and an opportunity for the players to be part of the first team squad, it will continue to help the Foundation attract the best possible players in the area. However, we’ll all be making sure that players are on top of their education and if they aren’t, then the individual will lose the opportunity until they have caught up.”