Chesterfield have announced the signing of eight new academy players.
The talented youngsters have made the transition from the club’s development schools.
Liam Sutcliffe, who heads the development schools, is delighted with the outcome.
He said: “The progress that the schools have made in the last nine months since I came to the club has been fantastic.
“We are now beginning to see the fruits of the hard work and we are very hopeful that there will be more players moving from the development schools into the academy in the coming weeks.
“We are keen to get as many players as possible into our academy. Hopefully they will then in turn go into the youth team, giving them a chance to progress to the first team.
“Those who’ve made the move into the academy side have been with us for around a year. This has enabled them to progress as players and develop a greater understanding of what is going to be expected of them, both on and off the pitch.”
Academy manager Gerry Carr is very pleased with the flourishing partnership between the development schools and the academy. He said: “When I came into the club I was keen to get that togetherness between the development schools and the academy.
“With the number of players in our current academy being quite low, there’s no better opportunity to get them integrated into the feeder system.
“Going forward, we’re just trying to build relationships with the development schools and make it a more attractive place for kids to come and play their football.”
Two of the new recruits - Connah Evans and Harvey Walker – have spoken of their excitement at signing.
Connah, 13, who plays as a central midfielder or striker, said: “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that I had to take.”
Left winger Harvey, 12, added: “I’m extremely proud of myself and excited that my future is going to be decided by how I play.”
Harvey attracted interest from rival clubs and his father Ian explained why he decided to join Chesterfield.
“He’s been around a couple of other clubs, but when he came here he really enjoyed it,” said Ian. “It’s a family-friendly club which is going in the right direction so it became an easy decision for him.”