Oldham Athletic’s youth team returned to winning ways following the Christmas break after a 3-1 win over Hartlepool U18s.
Goals from Max Norman, Taylor Jones and Ryan Scholes-Beard wrapped up a relatively comfortable morning for the Latics youngsters.
Craig Large has been in charge in the absence of Pete Wild and Chris Millington and he was pleased with the performance on Saturday.
“We started brightly, played some really good, positive football in the game.” He said.
“We got the ball in their half, created chances and went one-nil up and then Ewan McFarlane has pulled off a great double save to keep us ahead at half time.
“We started slowly in the second half and they rightly equalised, but the boys dug deep and got the next two goals and took command of the game.”
However, with the return of Wild and Millington into the academy, Large believes the experiences they’ve had in the first team with only be beneficial to the youth team.
“It's going to brilliant to have them back, they've not forgotten about us, they've always been asking how we've been doing within training and games, so they're well aware of what's going on.” He commented.
“I think the experience of being in and around the first team will benefit the academy lads because Pete and Chris literally now know what it takes to get to the next level.
“When they come back and speak to the boys now then the players really have to listen and take on board what they're saying because they've seen it.”
Over the past week, the academy has seen the return of former coach Connor Marlin back into the academy.
Marlin returns to the academy as Head of Coaching and Large was full on praise for the returning man.
“He's been quality this week, you can see the experience that he's going to bring to the youth academy.
“Being in around him, you can see the way he thinks, the way he puts things across it'll bring a different dimension to the academy which will only benefit everyone coaches and players alike.
As the back end of the season approaches, decisions will have to be made within the academy in terms of the players.
Large says that everyone will need to make a statement if the young Latics players want to go onto the next level.
“The aims for the rest of the season are to go unbeaten and to lay down a marker.
“The first years need to be ready for next season and the second years really need to make a statement to be given the best chance possible of a professional contract.
“It comes down to the performances they give and how they train, but also the attitude and effort they go put into everything they do.
“It's not easy to be a professional footballer, they've got to earn the right, but to be fair I think these lads have the ability to do that, but now they really need to show it.”