Hudson & Whitehead learn lots against Scunthorpe United
- The Huddersfield Town Academy prepares for the FA Youth Cup
- Mark Hudson & Dean Whitehead lead Under-18 side against Scunthorpe United
- Under-19 side to take on Macclesfield Town on Tuesday afternoon
Preparations for Town’s FA Youth Cup campaign began at PPG Canalside on Saturday when an Under-18 side took on Scunthorpe United in the Youth Alliance League.
With Town’s Third Round tie at home to Peterborough United on 5 December on the horizon, Under-19 coach Mark Hudson joined forces with Under-17 coach Dean Whitehead to field a fully-fledged Under-18 side against the Iron.
The age-eligible players from Hudson’s Under-19s dropped down to play with their younger colleagues and, despite an impressive performance, were defeated 2-1 by the visitors.
There were many positives, however, such as the return of defender Jordan Eli from a relatively long-term injury.
On top of that, 16-year-old striker Kian Harratt scored his 17th goal of an increasingly impressive season for all Academy age groups.
“We used Saturday to see what the FA Youth Cup team could possibly look like, and we learned lots from the game,” Hudson told htafc.com on Monday morning.
“We could see what our strengths are and think about which formation we might use. It was a good opportunity for us.
“We played through the lines and created chances. On another day I think we would have won with two, three or four more goals, but testament to Scunthorpe; they defended their box very well and really dug in.
“There were some negatives, as you’d expect. We can eradicate the goals we conceded.”
Although many of the players hadn’t featured together before, the performance had all the hallmarks of the ‘Terriers Identity’ – something Hudson puts down to a lot of hard work from Academy staff and players alike.
“These players don’t play together so much, as our second-year scholars are playing for the Under-19s. We’re putting players together who haven’t featured alongside one another before.
“I have to say that the fact that all our First-Year scholars are playing regularly is a big strength of our system.
“The process we have created in the Academy showed on Saturday. Both groups have been working on our identity of play and style and we saw that every player step into any formation and knows their job.
“That allows us, as coaches, to adapt before games and even in-game. Every player knows their role and we’re very fluid regardless of which formation we employ.”
The Academy enters another busy week now, with Hudson’s older age-group back in action in a 1pm kick-off at Macclesfield Town on Tuesday afternoon.
He concluded: “We’ll predominantly play the older, Under-19 age group at Macclesfield Town on Tuesday afternoon. That’ll be a good test against senior players at a Stadium.
“The Under-18s get another test at Grimsby Town on Saturday, so we’ll know where we are as we get closer to the FA Youth Cup game on 5 December.”
Also on Saturday, Academy Manager Leigh Bromby led a young Under-17 side featuring eight trialists in a tough game against Manchester City, midfielder Andrew Ijiwole netting in a 6-1 defeat.
Town Under-18s vs Scunthorpe United (3-4-3)
Giosue Bellagambi; Jordan Eli (Josh Austerfield, 65’), Seth Meeson, Mustapha Olagunju; Mason O’Malley (Taylor Annakin, 75’), Tom Bell, Scott High (c), Ben Jackson; Aaron Rowe (Kian Harratt, 70’), Micah Obiero, Darnell Mintus (Jaheim Headley, 46’)
Huddersfield Town Under-18s 1-2 Scunthorpe United