Academy Manager Leigh Bromby explains the current coaching programme
- Huddersfield Town Under-17s begin next phase of coaching
- Academy Manager Leigh Bromby explains principles of the ‘deep fight zone’
- Young Terriers apply teaching in weekend game against Chesterfield
Town’s Academy Manager Leigh Bromby was happy with how the Under-17 players tried to apply a new principle from training into Saturday’s Youth Alliance game against Chesterfield at PPG Canalside.
“We’re teaching the lads the principles behind the Deep Fight Zone,” Leigh explained to htafc.com on Monday morning.
“The principles are not dissimilar to what we’ve worked on so far, but we intentionally defend closer to our goal to deny the opposition space behind our back four.
“The best example I can give supporters, which I have given to the players too, was the First Team’s win at home to Manchester United last season. You concede a bit of possession in playing this way, but it allows you to hit the opposition on the counter-attack, as we did for Aaron Mooy’s goal.
“We’ve stressed to the players that this isn’t a defensive strategy; it’s about inviting the other team onto us, which creates more space for you to attack when you get the chance.
“As I’ve said, we showed the players loads of footage of the First Team – and Mark Hudson’s Under-19 team – playing in this manner over the last week.
“For a first attempt, the lads did really well on Saturday. The front players, like Kian Harratt and Josh Austerfield (pictured above), showed a good understanding of their roles in this style in terms of where the press needs to engage the opposition. There are a lot of coaching points to get across and we’ll continue that work to link the defence, midfield and attacking units together.
“Over the next six weeks, all we want to see is improvement. We give the players lots of information and show them what we want, but equally we challenge the players to evaluate their learning and report back to us.”
Focusing on one specific element of play, like the Deep Fight Zone, can lead to mistakes and defeats in matches, as it did at the weekend; Chesterfield won the game 3-1. However, Leigh is adamant that the focus should be on the improvement of individual players – not on results.
He continued: “I think everyone is starting to get the idea now. The challenge is set high for our players, as we’re playing teams who have one or two First Year scholars in, as opposed to our squad that is entirely made up of 15 and 16-year-olds. A year’s worth of growth at that age makes a massive difference!
“Historically, our First Year scholars haven’t played many games. Now they are all playing together, and they will make mistakes. That happened for the goals we conceded on Saturday, but the effort was there and the lads tried to implement what we’ve worked on, so we’re happy.
“The challenge for us is to keep these young players motivated and to help them understand that they are improving.
“A ‘win’ for us is seeing Tom Bell and Jaheim Headley, two 16-year-olds, playing for the Under-19 side against SC Braga and RC Celta de Vigo recently. Seeing players rising to the challenge is a win. Winning 3-0 at a weekend because the opposition made mistakes is not, in terms of what we’re trying to achieve.
“Everyone’s mindset has had to change. We’ve come far away from trying to win the Professional Development League, or the Youth Alliance League now. We’re completely focused on progressing our players, which starts with teaching the Under-17 players the principles of what we want.”
Town’s team vs Chesterfield (4-2-3-1)
Harry Hauserman; Sam Sharrock-Peplow (Darnell Mintus, 65’), Mustapha Olagunju, Nassim Kherbouche, Mohammed Diaby; Taylor Annakin, Tom Bell; Jaheim Headley, Josh Austerfield (c) (Andrew Ijiwole, 65’), Myles Bright (Andre Edionhon, 46’); Kian Harratt
Giosue Bellagambi, Remi Thompson
Huddersfield Town U17s 1-3 Chesterfield
Kian Harratt, 32’