SWINDON Town U18s head coach Alan McLoughlin admits pre-season will not be a walk in the park for his young recruits as they prepare for the new campaign.

With training already under way, McLoughlin takes his side to Winslow United next Tuesday for their first game.

The former Town midfielder, who saw Scott Twine, Jordan Simpson and Tom Ouldridge all progress to earn senior deals last season, which were signed last Friday the Adver understand, will work with a squad of 17 this coming season, comprising of six second year and 11 first year scholars.

However, with a carefully planned out pre-season schedule organised, McLoughlin is looking to develop players ready for the step up and hopes training alongside the first team at Beversbrook will only strengthen those links.

“It’s not just a case of throwing a few cones down and the boys come in and train, there is a vast and varied array of work they do,” he told the Adver.

“Strength and conditioning work plays an important part and more than anything with young players now, it’s training their brains as well as them training their body to be ready for the rigours of being a professional footballer.

“It’s a tough life. The rewards are there but you have to work from day one and there is no let up.

“The players that take their foot off the gas and they think they have signed a contract now at 19 and think they have made it, they’re sadly mistaken.

“You have still got to be trying at 33 or 34 and if I can get to the end of my coaching career and see a player get to the end of his career and be successful then I’ll be more than happy with that.

“We have got an exciting group of academy players.”

Having had a brief spell at Rochdale back in 2001/02, McLoughlin is familiar with the work ethic of Town manager David Flitcroft and believes that will be a benefit to both the senior and youth team players.

“Dave was a very committed player, I remember then at the time,” added McLoughlin.

“Everything is black and white and he expects high standards.

“I was impressed with his work ethic and what he was about and he has taken that into his managerial career.

“It will be work in progress and I certainly hope people will be patient because players have to come in and like anything, you have to bed yourself in.

“He has to quickly get his philosophy across of how they want to play and it is quite close to what I did last year with the youth team.”


First Year: Archie Matthews (GK), Joe Blackwell, Harry Drag, Jay Digweed, Harry Stanley, Luke Haines, Ralph Graham, Wilf White, Jacob Bancroft, Teo Atik, Elliott Dugan 

Second Year: Paolo Giamattei, Joe Romanski, Jordan Edwards, Ollie Rejek, Sol Pryce, Louis Spalding