Having impressed in our recent West Riding County Cup win over Bradford Park Avenue, U23 Manager Josh Falkingham gives us the low down on Harry Clark, Soni Fergus and Dan Hartley, who all made their first team debut's just over a week ago.Harry Clark – (17) – Centre Back - Joined Town at the start of 18/19 season where he slotted in to Josh Walsh's u17 side. Harry has quickly progressed at the club and, despite being just 17, he earned a place in my U23s side this season.
He has had to be patient and get some game time for Paul Barker's U21 side as well as stepping up and playing a few games for my U23 side. The County Cup fixture was a big challenge for Harry as some might say he was thrown in at the deep end in making his first appearance in the Senior County Cup for the club, but he came through the 90 minutes with flying colours.
Like his central defensive partner Dan Hartley, Harry needed time to get used to the pace of the game at the start of the match, but towards the end he made some outstanding covering tackles and looked as comfortable as any at the end of the game.
A real stand out and the progression from U17s, U21s, U23s to representing in a first team game this is something that other youngsters at Town should aspire to replicate.
Soni Fergus – (18) – Right Back – Soni came into the club by the open trails in June 2018.
Whitby born and someone who's attitude has shone with his commitment and dedication to progress at Town resulting in him being named the U23s Captain at the start of season 19/20.
Soni performed really well against BPA, he saw a lot of the ball and was willing take the ball in tight areas. He finished the game really strongly and fully deserved his opportunity to show the management what he is about.
Dan Hartley – (18) – Centre Back – Dan came to the club by the open trials in June 2019, he is a modern day centre back and someone who likes to play passes out from the back.
A real strong competitor and quick across the ground, Dan is really taking control of the defence for the u23s this season game by game. He will have learnt a lot coming up against a strong and physical presence up front for BPA, but once he got to grips with the game, Dan looked really comfortable and forced Bradford in to very little especially in the second half.
Beneath the U23 set up, Josh Walsh mentions some stand out performers in the Shadow Squad…
Joe Payette – Joe has been within the PDC since age 13 and has shown considerable improvements in that time, not only with his football but mentally and in the way he has matured.
Joe has made the step up from the PDC academy to now be a part of the Shadow Squad Elite and the U17's squad. Joe has made a big impact in both squads appearing in the FA Youth Cup games and scoring some important goals in the u17's fixtures so far. Joe's pace and power puts him in some great positions and his clinical finishing gets him on the score sheet more often than not.
Drew Hunter and Brad Taylor - Both players regularly attended our PDC last year. Both just missed out on the academy squad, but their application, attitude and development in training made them standout candidates in the Shadow Squad Elite trials and now both deservedly have their place in the Elite Squad of the U16s. Brad is a versatile left back who is capable of going forward and effecting the game higher up the pitch, while Drew is a direct and mobile left winger who likes running with the ball and beating players.
All three of these players are examples that everyone develops at their own pace, especially at this age. The philosophy at the club is attitude over ability - if someone gives 100% they will go further than players that give 70% - Brad and Drew are two brilliant examples of this.