Warrington Town are set to enter a second team into the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League’s ground-breaking academy next season as they undergo a major restructuring to strengthen their first team.
After securing their place in the EVO-STIK NPL’s top flight last season following promotion, the club’s officials are looking forward to stepping up their involvement with the Northern Premier League Football Academy when it welcomes its third intake of students in September and expands to 13 clubs and more than 400 students.
As part of a summer of restructuring at Cantilever Park, the reserves set-up will move towards becoming a development/U23s side to support the first team. Town’s youth team in the North West Youth Alliance Premier Division is also being disbanded as they look to launch next step courses for players graduating from the two year NPLFA courses.
According to a statement announcing the shake-up on Tuesday, Town’s second side will be led by former Everton and Blackpool professional Keith Southern who took charge of the club’s NPLFA set-up at the start of last season. The educational element will be led by Mark Baker.
Warrington Town chairman Toby Macormac believes they are building for the future by restructuring.
He said: “I have made a few decisions to change and improve the structure of the club below the first team. This extension to the academy will provide us an extra opportunity to develop young players of our own and provide a platform for the club to build on for when it eventually turns full-time itself so the transition is seamless.
“I’d like to put on record my thanks to those that helped in the Youth Alliance section, and those players are still covered by the junior section and there is also the option to sign up for the academy.
“The development of players now sits with our reserve side which through a transitional period will become a development/U23s side as we look to harness not only players in the town but also scholars and one year professionals released from surrounding clubs.
“It would then become a solid support arm for the first team which some current squad members have been this season. It’s vitally important to the future of the club that the foundations are solid and regular changes and enhancements are made to move in line with the ever changing game.”
He added: “If we can be just as strong off the field as we want to be on it then it should only lead to a successful future for everyone involved in the journey.”
* Founded with the backing of the Football Association at five pilot clubs in September 2014 to provide career pathways into the football industry and still the only league wide academy in English football combining sport with education, the NPLFA’s coaches and tutors are getting ready to offer full-time degree courses for students at a number of member clubs from September.