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"The Under-21s has been hard this season due to the schedule, we will be better equipped this season." Coventry City's Rich Stevens

12 May 2015

The Sky Blues Academy Manager also believes the Academy have improved their recruitment over the past year...

Coventry City Academy manager Richard Stevens believes the Sky Blues will be better equipped for the Under-21s campaign next season.

The 21s has largely been made up of Under-18s players this campaign who have played consecutively for the 18s on Saturdays and then for the 21s on Mondays.

But the Sky Blues are planning on having a group specifically to tackle the tough schedule of 21s football which should make the workload easier for the young professionals according to Stevens.

He said: "It's a relief and it saves the overload of games for the young players.

"Of course the young players always want to play but rest is a big part of the development pathway. The young pro's have not had enough rest this year. With a bit of luck, James Maddison can get into the first-team so there will be the six pros we have signed and some of the older lads which will make the load easier as it has been tough this year.

"The first year scholars have had a really good season but it fell away due to the size of group and this season we're going to put that right.

"I do think that the 21s league as a whole hasn't quite found its place in the game. Is it for young pro's, injured pro's, pro's looking to keep fit for the first team? It hasn't found it's place of yet.

"Certainly for us though we use it to push young players. Look at Manchester United, Robin Van Persie played against Fulham, so you can see what you can be up against."

Stevens also believes the Academy are improving all the time and one of those aspects has been the recruitment process.

One of the key figures involved in the recruitment of young players is Carl McNally and Stevens has praised his work and believes it is an area that the Sky Blues have significantly shown progression in over the last year.

"I think over last three years, the Academy has had a tough time trying to find out what works and what doesn't work in regards to recruitment," Stevens continued.

"Carl McNally coming in has allowed us to stablise and put things in place. We're scouting district level, school level, ages 15-16 to see what the Category One clubs are not taking. The Cat One clubs have huge resources and take lots of good footballers. But we need to pick up their mistakes too, the ones they let go and I feel we are better equipped to do that now, we've been able to recruit three players from West Bromwich Albion this year and one from QPR. 

"It never stops. The schoolboy programme finishes in two weeks time and then we start planning for next season straight away, looking at player pathways, so there is not too much downtime to stay ahead of the game!

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