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17 February 2016

Under 8s give Latics a run for their money.

  • Under 8s visit Christopher Park for first team training session.
  • A number of first team stars join in with Latics' youngsters.
  • Head of Academy, Gregor Rioch praises 'successful morning'.

Latics' stars of the future paid a visit to the club's Christopher Park Training Ground earlier this week, as the Under 8s were given an exciting opportunity to train with members of the first team squad.

Lead Foundation Phase Coach, Jay Cochrane brought his team to the training ground for an initial group session, before Will Grigg, Reece Wabara, Yanic Wildschut, Jason Pearce, Craig Morgan, Max Power, David Perkins, Chris McCann and Conor McAleny joined in to team up with the youngsters for some small sided matches.

The morning was a success and a great taste of life at Latics, a point expressed by Head of Academy, Gregor Rioch:

"It’s great for the academy to be invited down to the training ground by the manager (Gary Caldwell) who has encouraged us to do a little bit more in building our relationships with the first team.

"Jay (Cochrane) thought about putting the session together and getting the players in during half term and you could see the excitement from the kids, they loved every second of it."

Speaking in further detail about the experience at Christopher Park, coach Jay continued:

"It’s always the aim to look long term for the players’ futures and their development as footballers, but I think on top of that we’re a club and an academy that pride ourselves on inclusion.  It’s great for our players at such a young age to rub shoulders with the first team players, people who they’re aspiring to be like.

"It’s exciting to think about them progressing here, and we’re working hard to make sure they are given the best possible chance to do exactly that.

"There were a lot of proud parents watching on, and it’s good to see our work with them is making a difference, I think that’s a very important message.

"We’re fortunate this year because recruitment has been very strong and Gregor has put things in place which mean we have been able to attract football players who would usually be attracted by category one academies.

"Some of the boys in our Under 8s have had offers to play for top academy clubs, but they’ve chosen to come and play for Wigan Athletic, which speaks volumes for the position we’re in at the moment."

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