Youth Development Phase Craig Large believes the Youth Team are in for a tough pre-season over the next month.
Large says the young Latics scholars will be tested to their limits across the pre-season which includes some difficult fixtures.
The young players have been back in training this week and Large outlined what the final goal is in developing these young players.
“We’ve made a start with the training programme already, the lads have been back a few days now and have been working really hard.” He said.
“The fixtures that we’ve got lined up, we’ve intentionally given them a really tough pre-season which is why the lads are on quite an intensive development programme.
“Part of that development is trying to prepare as many as them as possible to be ready to play first team football, once they’ve finished their youth team scholarship.”
The Youth Team have seven pre-season in total across the next month, with only two being against other U18 sides.
Large understands that these young players will be taken to their limits against some decent opposition.
Add in the fact that some of the lads will be playing against fully grown men for the first time, but it will only help with the development in the future.
“They will have a couple of games against similar opposition, they’ve got Bradford City’s youth team and they’ve got FC Halifax Town’s youth team.” He commented.
“But sandwiched in the middle of that they’ve got five really tough fixtures against men’s teams from the North West Counties, from the Evo-Stick West division and the Evo-Stick Premiership.
“It’ll be a real serious physical challenge for them which they’ll have to really raise their levels to be able to compete with these teams.
“The main thing we’re looking for out of them is to develop some physical and psychological robustness because we know they’re good technically and tactically.”
Certain standards are expected to be met in the world of professional football and in the Youth Team it is no different.
Large says he expects the players to stick to certain ethics both on and off the field during their time in the scholarship programme.
“We work around a set of values and principles, like I say it’s a developmental programme, but the most significant part of their development in the first part of the two-year scholarship is about getting their heads right.
“They need to make sure their attitude towards the work is correct and making sure they begin to appreciate and understand what it takes to become a professional footballer.
“What we require out of them is hard work, we look to develop and build a positive attitude in them, we want them to have a really good work ethic, in terms of making sure they prepare properly and making sure they understand what the level of competition is and how to compete.”
Large wants the lads to be competitive in training and believes pre-season is a chance for them to prove why they should have a place in the side heading into the first game of the season.
“We want them to be competitive, that’s one of the values we work around, so we want them to understand that it is a competitive programme.
“Not only do we want to go out and compete and win football matches, but we also want them to understand that there is a healthy competition amongst themselves to make sure they get that opportunity to play.
“All of the boys will get an opportunity to have plenty of football because it is about developing them and giving them all an equal shot at earning a pro contract, but within that there has to be some competition for places.
“They have to understand that to not only to push themselves, but also having high standards so they can push each other as a group so that they can then perform to their maximum.”
Finally, Large urges fans to come and support the youth team as the young prospects work to become the future of the club.
“I think the fans at Oldham are great and we’ve a solid core of fans who come and watch youth team games whenever they can, so it would be fantastic to see them at our matches in pre-season.
“The fixtures will be played at times that will be accessible for most people to come, so if they keep an eye on the website and the twitter feed, I’m sure they’ll be notified of when we’re playing.”
Here's another reminder of the Youth Team's pre-season schedule during July for those who wish to show their support:
Saturday 6 July (11am KO) - Home (Chapel Road)
vs. Bradford City U18's
Saturday 13 July (2:30pm KO) – Away
vs. Buckley Town
Tuesday 16 July (7pm KO) – Away
vs. Glossop North End
Saturday 20 July (12pm KO) – Away
vs. Chadderton FC
Tuesday 23 July (7:30pm KO) – Away
vs. Stafford Rangers
Saturday 27 July (1pm KO) – Away
vs. Winsford United
Tuesday 30 July (12:30pm KO) – Away
vs. FC Halifax Town U18's