Goal poacher, speedster, tricky attacker? – The starlets that Sheffield Wednesday need to make a big call on who are fighting for their football futures
Sheffield Wednesday have a lot of senior contracts expiring at the end of this season, but it’s not just the first team where they’ve got some big decisions to make.
The likes of Tom Lees, Adam Reach and Keiren Westwood are among a number of big names who will see their current Wednesday deals expire at the end of the campaign, and – as yet – there has been no indication as to whether they’ll be sticking around at Hillsborough or not as the club battles for Championship safety.
But while that goes on at senior level, and there are also questions regarding a number of U23 players who are on the cusp of the first team, there are players within the U18s who are literally fighting for their futures as footballers.
As is the case every year, the group of players who have turned 18 – or will do so before the season is out – are coming to the end of their scholarships, and need to be either offered a professional deal or informed that they will not be remaining with the club.
Many regular members of the current crop of U18s manager by Andy Holdsworth fall into that category, and the youth development team – headed by Steve Haslam – will soon have to make some big decisions with regards to who steps up into the U23s and who is left to try and make their way in the industry elsewhere.
The list of players who are either 18 now or will turn 18 before the end of the season includes names that you may have heard of such as goal poacher captain, Alex Bonnington, and speedster, Paulo Aguas, while tricky Basile Zottos and defender Corey Glaves are also names that may be on your radar.
There’s also Alex Hare, Will Trueman, Luke Yates, Charlie Curtis, Luke Hall and Jay Glover who are on the list of those who may or not continue their progression through the ranks at Middlewood Road, and it will be interesting to see who is deemed worthy of a first professional deal.
The Star understands that a handful are being lined up for pro contracts come the end of the season when a decision does have to be made, and it’s safe to assume that the likes of Bonnington, Aguas, Glaves and Zottos will be in line for an extended stay given their performances this season.
Wednesday are likely to only make definite decisions on the way forward at some point closer to the end of the season once they have a better idea of what the future holds, but they do have plenty of youngsters who aren’t at the threshold who will remain with the U18s next season such as Bailey Cadamarteri (15), Leojo Davidson (16) and Murtadha Al-Jahadhmy (17).
Last year it was Luke Cox, Luke Jackson, Charlie Reaney, Lewis Farmer, Charles Hagan and Declan Eratt-Thompson who secured professional deals as reward for their hard work, and all of the current crop will be hoping that they can follow in their footsteps in the next couple of months.
The U18s have scored 16 goals in their last six games, losing just one of them, and currently sit in fifth place in the Professional Development League North table.