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Lichfield City FC boss says future is bright as academy players begin to make the step up

The future is looking bright for Lichfield City FC as the club’s academy begins to bear fruit, according to first team boss Jamie Hawkins.

The club has reshaped its footballing structure in recent years with the addition of the new academy side under the tutelage of former Aston Villa player Darren Middleton.

A number of players made the jump to the senior side following Hawkins’ arrival as first team boss last season and he believes there will be more to follow, especially now Lichfield has opted to go for an under-21 team rather than a reserve side.

“We’ve got probably half a dozen training with us regularly as senior players,” he told LichfieldLive. “Although they will still play primarily with the academy and the newly-formed under-21 side, they are players we are keen to involve in the first team setup.

“I’m liaising closely with Darren to identify players ready to make the jump and it’s been nice to give them a taste of a senior pre-season this summer.”

City’s pre-season campaign continues this evening (July 10) when they take on a youthful Walsall side at Brownsfield Park.

But Hawkins has seen plenty to suggest his new young charges are ready to step into the void if needed tonight or later on in the campaign.

“I’ve spoken to Darren recently to compliment him on the attitude of the younger lads during training,” he said. “With the hot weather we’ve had a pretty tough start to the pre-season, but they’ve all come through it and none have come down with little niggles that sometimes crop up when pre-season gets hard!

“Some of the younger lads are pushing the more seasoned players so it does work as a positive having them in there as they are naturally fit young 16 and 17-year-old lads, so it’s good to have them involved.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.