INTERVIEW: Talented teenagers are the way forward for reigning champions
Peterborough Sports Reserves are operating with a different brief this season...but that doesn't mean they've given up on retaining their Peterborough Premier Division title.
Producing talented young players for the club’s high-flying first team is a major aim for new Sports manager Chris Bartlett and the form shown during an eye-catching 6-3 win at a fancied ICA Sports side last weekend suggests the plan is on track.
But Bartlett isn’t interested in playing youngsters just for the sake of it. He still wants to be competitive and he believes a team who have won four and lost four this season can still challenge the top-flight top dogs.
“My brief as manager is to rebuild last year’s title-winning squad while developing young players for the first team,” Bartlett stated. “We had nine under 18s in the squad at ICA Sports and the result speaks for itself about how well they did.
“But just playing young players is not enough. I want them to be competitive and that means playing good, experienced players alongside them.
“We were always going to lose some of the stalwarts from last season, but we’ve picked up players I know well like Lewis McManus, Jordan Fiddes and Tom Flatters who will help the youngsters develop.
“We were very fluent in the first-half at ICA. The second-half was messy, but every time they threatened a comeback we managed to score and pull away again.”
Under 18 players Jamie Scott (2) and Jack Eldridge scored three of the goals for Sports Reserves, while midfielder Dylan Kilford confirmed his status as one of the city’s top young teenage talents.
“When ICA pulled it back to 4-2, Jamie picked the ball up from kick off and raced through their entire side and scored,” Bartlett enthused.
“It will be tough to catch the likes of Moulton Harrox and Netherton, but we will only get better. I don’t know a lot about (third-placed) Stamford Lions, but I’m told they are a good side.
“Moulton are always strong, but we lost 2-1 there on the opening day of the season and we really should have picked up a point. Netherton have a huge squad of players and it could become an in issue keeping them all happy.
“Whittlesey Athletic will also challenge. We went there with a shadow squad and lost narrowly. In fact all four of our league defeats have been by a single goal so we are not far away.”
Sports Reserves host Holbeach United Reserves in a Premier Division match on Saturday. Leaders Moulton are at Deeping Rangers, while Stamford Lions host Netherton in a mouthwatering President’s Shield game.
Saturday, September 23
Premier Division: Deeping Rangers Res v Moulton Harrox, Langtoft United v AFC Stanground Sports, ICA Sports v Thorney, Peterborough Sports Res v Holbeach United Res, Sutton Bridge United v Ketton, Warboys Town v Leverington, Whittlesey Athletic v Sawtry.
President’s Shield: Stamford Lions v Netherton United.