DEFENDER Aaron Oakley is looking forward to a physical test when he and the Swindon youth team take on the RAF in the plush surroundings of St George’s Park this afternoon.
Town’s youngsters travel to Staffordshire today to play a friendly at the FA’s new flagship training complex, which offers top-class facilities with the aim of moulding the next generation of international footballers.
Oakley has been in and around the Swindon first-team squad since making the bench for the game away at Crewe in October, and believes testing himself against a physical RAF side will help him prepare for the challenge of League One if and when he eventually makes his debut.
“I’ve heard a lot about St George’s Park, and Miles Storey played there when he was with England and told me the facilities were unbelievable,” he said.
“It will be a great experience for us all to go there and have a good look around, and it will be great especially for me and Louis Thompson because we haven’t been able to play a lot of games recently.
“When we played against Crawley the pitch was terrible and a few of the pitches the first team have played on recently have not been great, but there is sure to be a great surface to play on because it has been getting some rave reviews.
“It will be a physical game against a team of players from the RAF, but that is great for me and will help me cope with some of the big players in League One if I get the chance.”
The game will also see the three Samsung Win a Pro Contract finalists bid to earn a deal with Town, having joined up with Kevin MacDonald’s side yesterday for a week of training.
Midfielder Jack Sherratt, 19, and strikers Claudiu Hoban, 21, and Kayden Jackson, 19, have beaten off competition from more than 5,000 entrants to reach the final, with a contract at both Town and League One rivals Leyton Orient on offer.
The trio trained with Orient for a week at the start of February and Stoke-based Sherratt is looking forward to making an impression at the County Ground.
“Training at Leyton Orient was a great experience so I’m really looking forward to doing the same at Swindon,” he said.
Bradford’s Jackson believes he has a good chance of earning himself a professional contract, and is determine not to let the chance slip away.
“I can’t really put what this means into words,” he said.
“Now I want to show that I’m good enough to play with professionals, and hopefully I’ll be able to show all the aspects of my game. I’ve come so far in the competition, I won’t let it slip through my fingers now.”