FA Cup Target - 7 August
Securing eligibility for the country’s most famous cup competition will be the aim for New College’s Hellenic League side as they look to hand their young players even more opportunities to develop.
College, who also run U18 sides in student leagues, finished fourth-from-bottom in Division One West last term but academy director Ian Howell is targeting a berth higher up the table to give his team the best chance of successfully applying for the FA Cup. “I think that we need to finish in the top seven to get a spot in the FA Cup and if we could do that, it would be a fantastic achievement for a college programme,” said Howell, whose youngsters will kick off their second-ever FA Vase campaign against Thatcham Town in September.
“We’ve had some players go on to scholarships in America or some leave for university or work, and we’ve also had some sign for Swindon Supermarine. We’ll have a new set of first-years coming through next year and we’ll have 48 players to fit in to three sides. At the same time, we will have a number of former students staying with us for a third or fourth year – that sometimes happens if they’re pursuing a scholarship and need more time to develop in the Hellenic League. “For us, it’s all about finding a balance between doing well in the Hellenic League and developing young players properly.”
Defenders Robbie Hendry and Alex McLoughlin will be signing on as third-year players for College whilst midfielder Max Slinn, forward Jordy Wilkins and defenders Alex Baker and Dan Carter are set for a fourth year.