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Interviews

BOBBY HASSELL ON U18S REACHING PLAY-OFFS

10 May 2024

Interviews

BOBBY HASSELL ON U18S REACHING PLAY-OFFS

10 May 2024

Academy Manager Bobby Hassell discussed another successful season for the U18s, reaching the Professional Development League play-offs.

Nicky Eaden's side clinched the league play-offs with a 3-0 victory over Wigan Athletic to make it three consecutive appearances in the end of season finals for our young Reds.

Our U18s finished in second place behind Birmingham City in the standings to set up a semi-final showpiece with Southern champions, Charlton Athletic. The Reds will head to the Valley on Saturday 18 May to contest for a place in the final, looking to retain their title.

"I've said it many a time, but we do have the lowest budget at Category Two level so to continually be consistent in terms of performance and overachieving every year and getting the top two, really proud," praised Hassell.

"We've put the players under a lot of pressure. Sheffield Wednesday were chasing them hard, it was between us and them for second for the last six weeks now. Obviously, Nicky Eaden's been in the door two years, he won it all last year and he's managed to get them to the play-offs again. Really consistent two to three years which is obviously evidence of what good work we're doing here."

Not only have the young Reds faced adversity this campaign, it has also been a very young squad battling it out on a weekly basis under the tutelage of Nicky Eaden.

The involvement of youngsters in the squad highlights the pathway in place at Oakwell for those coming through the ranks.

"It's not just the U16s, we've had Oliver Wilkinson play every game," he discussed. "He's obviously only an U15. We've introuduced some U14s recently as well and we've played a lot of first years this year, so it's probably been our youngest average age in the 18s for a number of years which makes it more pleasing and more rewarding that they've managed to get into the top two again."

Bobby Hassell's full thoughts can be found over on iFollow Barnsley.


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