After returning from his loan at New Mills, attack-minded midfielder, Ollie Havens, is delighted to be back playing for the youth team.
Ollie returns to the side at a good time, as Latics have hit a bit of form ahead of the Christmas period.
The young Latics saw off Blackpool with a 2-1 win, making it their second league win in three games, following a 3-1 win away at Walsall.
It’s not been the easiest of starts to the season for the youth team, who’ve had to adapt to a different recruitment structure due to a change in EFL funding, but as Under 19s coach Chuks Akuneto said last month, the progress is being made, and it’s come to fruition now.
“We had a really good game against Blackpool, we performed really well, kept our shape defensively and stopped them from getting through.
“Going forward, we had lots of energy.
“It was great to be back with the lads after my loan spell, and get the win against a good team who won the league last year.
“It was a good win, and I feel we can pick up a lot from that, and take it into future games.
“There’s a lot of positivity around the squad at the moment.
“We all get along with each other and, meaning it’s good to be around the team at the minute.
“Going into the new year, I feel like we’re in a position to kick on from here.
“We had a bit of a tough start to the season, we didn’t really pick up too many results.
“But we’ve persevered and I think we’ve got through it now, and are in a position to go forward, picking up some more wins and putting points on the board.
“The second goal started with a bit of build up play from the back, I think it was Frazer who switched the ball out wide, before it came inside to me.
“I went past a player, set it up for some buildup play outside the box, then our left-back had a shot, he parried it and I was there to tap it in.
“I felt we showed some really good build up play, and it proves that we can do it as a team, and I think it’s something we can do even better if we work on it as a team in the future.
“I’d like us to go forward and get some more goals."
Ollie joined New Mills of the North West Counties Division One South at the start of September, going on to bag four goals in his eight games for the Millers, including three in consecutive games at the end of his debut month.
It was a great experience for the youngster, in his first taste of men’s football, and he believes he’s come out of the other side of it as a better player.
“I feel like the move to New Mills really helped me gain experience in men’s football.
“It was good to get some goals under my belt, I think at one point I had four in six for them which was a great feeling.
“Those goals have really helped me with my confidence coming back here.
“I feel like I’ve really grown as a leader on the pitch, learnt a lot about football, which I can bring back.
“I think I’m now more able to help organise other lads in the youth team, using what I’ve learned.
“Results in the last three weeks have been really good, Chuks has helped massively with that.
“In training sessions he’s laying down exactly what he wants us to do on the pitch, and those ideas are coming over to us.
“Coming up to the Christmas period it would be good to get more wins under our belt, and start 2024 with a positive vibe.
“If we do that, we can end the season at the right end of the table."