Academy quartet offered first professional contracts
Four of Huddersfield Town’s second year scholars have today been offered their first professional contracts at the Club.
Goalkeeper Ed Wilczynski; centre back Joe Wright; midfielder Duane Holmes and striker Paul Mullin have been offered their first professional deals at Huddersfield Town and, should they accept, will move into the Club’s Development Squad next season working with Senior Professional Development Coach Steve Eyre.
Four of their second year colleagues were not offered a professional contract and will now leave the Club at the end of the season; defender Thomas Briggs; midfielders Danny Morton and George Conway and striker Ryan Cox.
Academy Manager Mark Lillis described the day as a landmark for the four players:
“Congratulations to the four players who will be offered their first professional contracts - they have achieved a big milestone. Despite that, their first professional contract doesn't guarantee a career in First Team football and that is the next aim for these lads in their careers.
"The players need a pathway and as a Club we can offer that; hopefully these lads take full advantage of the opportunity to continue to develop here.
“It’s a very hard decision to release the other four players, who have been at the Club for a long time. They are all great lads, but this is the nature of the industry they are in. This is not necessarily the end of their journeys in football if they want to continue and we will do everything we can to get them fixed up somewhere else.”
Goalkeeper Wilczynski hails from Mount in Huddersfield, but has Polish and Irish heritage that would allow him to play for their national teams if selected. He played his junior football for Collegians in Salendine Nook before joining Town’s Academy at Under-14 level.
He has already made his debut at the Stadium as part of the Salendine Nook High School team that beat Holmfirth High School 3-1 in April 2011 in the Huddersfield Junior Cup Final.
He’s made 20 starts for the Under-18 team this season and one for the Under-21 side, keeping six clean sheets.
Tall centre back Wright comes from Monk Fryston near Selby and joined Town at Under-16 level in September 2010, having previously played his football for Collingham.
He was named Captain of the Under-18 side at the start of the 2012/13 season, but suffered a broken leg during the game at Sheffield Wednesday in September and has been recovering ever since. Before that he had already made two appearances for Steve Eyre’s Under-21 side this season, on top of five Under-18 starts. Joe also trained with the First Team before his injury.
Goal-scoring midfielder Holmes has enjoyed a big season at the Club. Born in the USA but moving to Wakefield when he was four, Duane played for Kellingley Welfare and Normanton Athletic before joining Town at Under-9 level.
On top of his impressive 13 goals in 21 starts for the Under-18s so far this season, Duane has also scored one goal in six appearances for the Under-21s and has made an impression on the First Team; travelling with the squad for the game at Middlesbrough on 27 November before appearing on the bench as an unused substitute for the FA Cup game against Leicester City in late January.
Recently he was named on the shortlist of three for the npower Championship Apprentice of the Year accolade at the 2013 Football League Awards.
Striker Mullin hails from Liverpool and is a relative latecomer to Town’s Academy, having previously spent four years in the Everton Academy before a further four in Liverpool’s youth system.
He joined Huddersfield Town at the start of the season after a brief spell at Spanish side Racing Santander and has netted eight goals in 21 appearances so far this season, whilst making two substitute appearances for Steve Eyre’s Under-21 side.
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