Cluxton excited about plans for academy

Academy manager Neil Cluxton is excited about plans for the forthcoming months.

He said: “We’re well underway now and really looking forward to this year as an academy and we’re really looking forward to playing more games and getting more minutes under everyone’s belts.

“Here at the academy, we have a real way of doing things that in our opinion puts the best interests of the players at heart.

“We have so many links within the area with local clubs and facilities where all our age groups train and play.

“We’re all buzzing for another successful year and hopefully we’ll be in a better place again this time next year, we always want to progress.”

Cluxton explained how the academy prioritise the players getting men’s football action over the academy teams getting results.

“We put our players before our teams and we sacrifice our results to make sure that our players are getting the right experience,” he said.

“We always try and get our lads out on loan to men’s teams, getting them out and letting them experience proper football.

“It’s different to academy football, it prepares them properly and, in my opinion, it develops them quicker and gets them ready for proper football.

“If any of our lads are going to go on and play for Chesterfield’s first team, then they need to get out and play similar football and be involved with that.

“It does sacrifice our results, but we’d prefer that because we want to develop successful footballers, not just win games in the academy.

“For example, most of our U21s will be out playing men’s football and unable to play our fixtures, which means we’ll have 16 and 17-year-olds playing in those fixtures.

“Now, that might mean we don’t always get the results we want but we believe this really prepares them for the future. That’s key for us, preparing them for men’s football.”

Cluxton also spoke touched on the FA Trophy game and how it helped some of the lads develop, saying: “Paul Cook and his staff have been top class. They are really connected and interested in the academy and want us to do well and are willing to help.

“The lads that were involved that day will never forget that day. However, as nice as it was, they have to now kick on and try to use that as a bit of a springboard in their careers to move forwards.

“Some of the players were absolutely superb on the day and deserve a lot of credit.

“It was an opportunity to demonstrate the pathway we have here. The staff really looked after our boys on that day and were superb.

“It was a great day all round and we are grateful that so many of our lads were given the opportunity.”