Being able to develop young players through its first team will be vital to creating a “sustainable” Yeovil Town, according to new manager Chris Hargreaves.

The 50-year-old was appointed as the new number one at Huish Park this week having previously been academy manager at Bristol Rovers and in youth coaching roles at Exeter City and AFC Bournemouth.

Chris Hargreaves.

Speaking in his first interview with YTFC.net on Wednesday, he said: “Youth development is vital. I said to the players that want to stay at the club, I want to improve them as all coaches and managers do. We want to help them go and play as high as they can.

It’s something that is very important to me, they have to produce for the club but we hope to be able to help them along their footballing journey.”

He added: “We have to be as sustainable as possible, so we need to develop our younger players and if the rewards are right for the club and for the player, then brilliant.

That has to be a major part of it because producing players is a big part of what a club is about.”

The Glovers’ academy closed in 2020 following the club’s relegation from the Football League, but it has an Under-18s side, filled with players from the Yeovil College Elite Player Development Programme, and a number of age groups representing the Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust in the Junior Premier League.

He admitted the challenge of creating an academic would be “very difficult” without the funding available through being a League club.

Hargreaves said: ”I have a massive sympathy for any club that loses that funding, but there’s ways to get around it.

I have a few ideas and discussions to have over the next couple of weeks and, over and above our own boys coming through, any younger players that come through we have to use the development they have had at other clubs to our advantage.

But I understand there is no better feeling as a fan that to know you have got one of your own, so fingers crossed we can try and do that.

Midfielder Toby Stephens, a product of the club’s Community Sports Trust and academic system, and defender Ollie Haste have both signed professional contracts with the club in recent seasons.

A number of players which featured in this season’s Somerset Premier Cup campaign have come from the EPDP.


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