Fleetwood academy boss Jack Higgins welcomes challenge to develop Town stars of tomorrow
Fleetwood Town’s head of academy Jack Higgins is enjoying the pressure of bringing through the next generation of talent.
There is an increasing emphasis on promoting from within at Highbury, as Simon Grayson continues to give opportunities to those progressing through the ranks.
It’s an area in which owner Andy Pilley wanted to see an improvement when he appointed Grayson as head coach in January.
One of the men tasked with supplying players is Higgins, who joined the club from Burnley a little more than 12 months ago.
Higgins had previously been head of education at Turf Moor for three years before joining Town.
He said: “They’re nice pressures to have. You can find it quite frustrating at times when you’re developing these players and there is a lack of opportunities there.
“One thing this club has always given, in my understanding, both on and off the pitch is opportunities.
“The chairman has been so heavily invested in the club and the academy and the development of that, it gives us all confidence.
“There are pressures but we would rather have them than not at this stage.”
The next big project for the club is moving up to a category two academy from their category three status.
It is something Town had been looking to press on with before the pandemic struck.
Higgins said: “Category two, which we have applied for, provides a wider scope of teams to play against and allows us to resource more in terms of funding and staffing.
“That is naturally going to support your recruitment of players and how much contact time you can have with the players here at Poolfoot to get them closer to the first team.
“It would be significant and it’s something we’ve spoken about a lot over the last 12 months.
“We were unfortunate last year that pretty much everything was in place except for the indoor facility.
“In the midst of Covid, the chairman has still come out and invested in that kind of facility.
“There have been a lot of financial pressures all around the world and for him to have that commitment shows where his thoughts lie in terms of developing the academy.”
He said of the planned indoor ‘dome’: “We’re really looking forward to that and hopefully it will see us over the line with the category two application this season, and allow us to move in in time for the 2022/23 season.”
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