The team underneath the Owls’ senior side have been young since the start of the campaign after a lot of exits over the summer meant that the bulk of the team was made up of last year’s U18s, and now there are changes afoot once again.
It was confirmed recently that the likes of Liam Waldock, Charles Hagan and Josh Dawodu would be moving on at the end of the season as they get to the age where regular first team football is required, with that news coinciding with players such as Bailey Cadamarteri, Josh Ashman and Leojo Davidson stepping up to play more often with the U23s.
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Neil Thompson, the head coach of the age group, says that it’s an important period for the youngsters, admitting that it can be tough to take that step up.
Speaking to The Star, ‘Thommo’ explained, “It’s a tough time for the U23s, because we’ve done our releases and we’re looking to next season - so we’ve got a little bit of a transition period where we’ve got trialists coming in and the young lads from the U18s are coming up.
“We’ve told the lads that unfortunately aren’t getting contracts next year the situation early so it gives them the opportunity to try and get something elsewhere, but it also gives us chance to have a look at some other second year U18s and some first years scholars like Cadz (Bailey Cadamarteri). It gives them chance to play a good level of football, which is quite tough for them.
“There are a lot of changes at this age - they start filling out and getting their shape. You can see that they’re still growing, and they don’t have the full power or strength. They’re going into games against senior players with more experience, and that’s testing for them. You have to stretch them.”
The U23s have just two games left this season – against QPR on April 22nd and Millwall on May 3rd – and will be eager to get back to winning ways after draws against Swansea City and Wigan Athletic.