Klug: Progressing Academy at Heart of Owner's Plans for Town
Thursday, 12th Apr 2018 17:29
Caretaker-boss Bryan Klug is pleased with the number of players currently emerging from Town’s youth system with Marcus Evans having the academy at the heart of his plans for the future and says he and his colleagues at Playford Road have given the owner their thoughts regarding the club's next manager.
“It’s a work-in-progress,” said Klug, whose regular job is as head of coaching and player development at Playford Road.
“The manager was supportive of it, as is the owner now. We have plans in place that we hope will secure that [progress].
“I’m very pleased with the number of players that are coming through and we have a real plan of how to get them to where they need to be.
“For some of them this year has been a little bit disrupted because we’ve not been able to deliver the programme we wanted for them because they’ve had to be involved in the first team, probably before they should have been.
“I think the academy staff and [academy manager] Lee O’Neill have been absolutely first class and we are making progress. Value for money is what [it’s all about], we have to justify everything but we’ve put in place a value for money academy.”
When owner Evans outlined his five-point plan in December 2016, a “significant financial commitment to the academy” was one of those points and Klug says that remains a key part of the club’s strategy going forward.
“I think it is,” he said. “When circumstances change, we have to work really hard. That’s what we’re doing, we are working really hard. There’s been a lot of effort put in and we’ll continue to do that.
“That is a big part of Marcus’s plan and it’s the best way to get the football club back on line but it takes a lot more patience.
“The whole world is about everything having to be done now, quickly, but what we’re fighting for is to get boys into environments where they’re tested, but it is a question of patience.
“Again, going back to people saying ‘You will play kids’, I think you have to find the right time and the right circumstance but in this end of the season spell I think Mick would have been dipping them in and out, I think that’s where we are with them.
“There’s not one who I think [is ready to be a nailed-on starter]. If I was at Fulham and I spoke to Steve Wigley at Fulham and he said we’ve got this boy Ryan Sessegnon, he goes and knocks on the door of Mr Jokanovic’s office and says, ‘You’ve got to play him’.
“I would love to be doing that but they’re not there, I’m actually saying, ‘Let’s give them a chance because in two years’ time he might be [a regular]’. We have lots of players in that bracket, given the chance, given 50 games in men’s football, judge them then.”
He admits that the positive message regarding the academy’s progress isn’t always conveyed as well as it might be.
“I think the club needs to communicate that plan probably better,” he said. “I think that’s something that Marcus is going through at the moment. I know he’s going through a process to find the right kind of manager for how we want the club to develop, but that’s not for me to talk about.”
Klug says he and his Playford Road colleagues are making owner Evans well aware of what they’d like from the club’s next first-team manager.
“We’re trying to chew his ear off, we’re doing our bit,” he said. “I can tell you that from a football point of view he is doing it a way that makes really good sense about how we’re going to take the club forward.”
Back in 2006 when Klug was appointed assistant boss to new incumbent Jim Magilton there was a lot of talk about bringing the academy and the first team closer to one another.
He says at the current time there is the sort of cohesion they were aiming for during the Northern Irishman’s time in charge: “This club is more together, more joined up compared to many other clubs.
“There are different types of managers he could look at but that’s his choice and he’s putting a lot of thought into it and I’m sure he’ll let people know that.”
But he says that’s not always been the case: “I think we lost our way a little bit on what we were looking at probably at academy level anyway, there were a few years.
“When I came back [as academy manager in 2012] - not ringing a bell that it was all me - but for a few years before that the priority at this club hadn’t been on the academy, so you had a big gap.
“I think the only one we had at that time was probably Jack Marriott and I we don’t want to go into that one.”
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