Following Paul Thirlwell’s appointment as Assistant Manager in January, Josh Falkingham will be taking control of Harrogate Town’s Under 21 side for the 2017/18 season.
The midfielder signed for Town from Darlington in May, when discussions started about a possible coaching role for the UEFA ‘B’ License holder.
The opportunity to get his first taste of management, while returning to full time football turned out to be the perfect fit for Falkingham, who now wants to pass on all he can to Town’s young squad.
He said: “Management was something I was thinking about doing even before joining Harrogate, but to keep it in house at the club where I can keep in contact with Simon and Thirs, and learn from them, made it the perfect option for me.
“It was a massive thing for me to get my learning experience in coaching, and the U21’s the lads are that bit older as well so you can be a little bit more forceful.
“I think being involved with the manager daily and playing in the first team makes it good for them to have the relationship with myself as I can allow them in to what we are doing in the first team while trying to implement that in the U21’s as well.
“For me it is a case of just passing on everything that I can and trying to help the lads as best I can, my aim for them now is to get them in with me training every day with the first team.”
Falkingham will be taking over the majority of the squad who were crowned champions of the West Riding U21 Floodlit League last season, while a few are already knocking on the door of the first team.
The likes of Toby Lees and Marcus Day have been heavily involved this pre-season, which is a hugely positive sign according to Falkingham.
He added: “A couple of lads have come through the U21’s to train with the first team which is a great thing for them, and for me to be able to tell my team that they are only a step behind, and that these lads have already gone and done it.
“Now the club is full time, if any young lads in the U21’s really want to become professional footballers then it is the perfect opportunity for them to do that.
“The attitude has been spot on so far, there has been some tough friendlies, and they have come thick and fast.
“It has been really tough for them, but we have had some good results, and some that have been learning curves.”
Falkingham’s Under 21’s are next in action on Tuesday 1st August when Grimsby Borough visit The CNG Stadium.