Oldham Athletic’s depleted youth team suffered defeat away at Bradford City on Saturday to end their five-game unbeaten run in the league.
Latics’ young side had several key players missing through injury, illness and first-team call ups meaning they had an U15 striker playing against a strong Bradford side.
They also had to play 87 minutes of the game with 10 men after an early red card, but Interim Academy Manager Peter Wild believes it will be a good insight for younger members of the academy despite the result.
“We only had two second year scholars on the pitch as well as a 15-year-old striker, but we have to look at it as great exposure to these young lads.” He said.
“Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan with us being down to 10 men after three minutes which meant it was a tough ask for our young players.
“We ended up having to do a lot of defending, but it’s a massive learning curve for all of us.”
Although the result wasn’t ideal, Wild says he was proud of the way his young side continued to battle until the final whistle.
“The one thing I can say about every player is that we didn’t give up and they continued to work hard in all their adversities because Bradford played all their second-year scholars.” He commented.
“Even in defeat we want to see the lads give a good account of themselves and I think they did that on Saturday.”
Two players missing from the squad were Max Norman and Jack Williams who were both away for the first team’s game with Maidstone United on Saturday.
Wild maybe would have liked them both with the youth team on Saturday, but this is what the academy is all about as they look to develop more players into the first team fold.
He was happy to see the pair get an opportunity to be apart of the squad after a string of good performances for the youth team.
“It’s great I had a couple of meetings with the manager and he wants to get players involved where he can.
“There are a few injuries in the first team which means there’s an opportunity for our boys to move up which Max and Jack took, they’ve been doing well in the 18s, so they deserved that chance.”
Next up for the youth team is a home game with Huddersfield Town U18 on Saturday, December 15 which will be their last game before Christmas.
The game will be played at Chapel Road at 11am before the first team’s game with Bury.