This season was always going to be difficult for Brighouse Town Development squad after such a successful season last year when finishing runners-up in the League, League Cup and Halifax Cup with a side boasting an average age of 18.
More importantly, six youngsters became first-team regulars.
This evoked an early discussion that equalling the previous year would be a hard task. Especially with the first team taking less risks while striving for the play-offs this term. However, the staff were looking forward to the challenge and have met it head on.
This season’s squad has an air of depth and quality about it, tapping into the younger end. While the ultimate aim stays the same in order to get players into first-team football, it has become a slightly longer project than the previous year. The elder generation of 19 and 20-year-olds have travelled away to Nostell MW on loan to gain valuable first team experience at NCEL Premier Division level.
The younger ages have stepped into their shoes adequately with great raw ability and enthusiasm. They have a high technical ability with the football as well as pace. Their work rate and attitude cannot be questioned.
Despite indifferent form so far, the side are still in a good position in the league with two games in hand which, should they win, would take them into the top three within reach of Emley and Harrogate Railway.
There is an Albert Crabtree Halifax and District Chelenge Cup quarter final on January 16 at Huddersfield Amateurs, with the second leg of the League Cup 2nd Round due at the Dual Seal on January 25.
A highlight of the season so far I would say, has to be the games against Emley and Spennymoor Town where we fielded two completely different squads. One U18 squad against Emley in the League where we narrowly lost out to a strong, experienced Emley side 1-0. And the game the next night where we took an U-21 side up to Spennymoor Town to play a strong Evo-Stik side, narrowly losing out. Despite the results, it was testament to the club’s philosophy, and showed our depth in quality.
Manager Charlie Tolley is said to be quietly confident ahead of a ‘Make or Break’ period in terms of results, and fully believes that one or two of this group have the potential to progress to first team football in the future.
The future is bright.