SWINDON Town technical director Sandro Di Michele says the club is not looking to set-up an Under-23 squad despite a spate of recent young signings.

18-year-old Oscar Massey was Scott Lindsey’s first signing of the summer and is a potential candidate for joining the likes of George Cowmeadow and Harrison Minturn either in a holding pattern for promising talent or out on loan.

Reece Devine and Tyrese Shade are two more recent acquisitions who could feature in an U23 squad should one exist at the County Ground.

But the club’s technical director said that while he hopes to one day oversee the birth of a bridge between the academy and first-team football, cost makes it impossible at this time.

Di Michele said: “The reality is, at the moment it’s a no (to setting up an U23 side).

“It’s very expensive to have an Under-23 team or a B-team – whatever route you want to go down.

“It’s a no because there are so many things that we need to get right first at the club, especially with the academy. But we’re getting there, and we are doing it – it just takes time.

“I’d love us to have an Under-23s team because it’s a more natural pathway into first-team football.

“When you go from Under-18s straight into men’s football, it’s on us to plan out the journey of how you’re going to get them to first-team football. It’s no issue for us really, but it’s a huge jump between the two.”

In the absence of a natural stepping-stone from U18s into the cut and thrust of League Two, Town have relied on sending promising stars to the likes of Chippenham Town and Swindon Supermarine in the past.

Di Michele says that method is more than acceptable for the time being but has his eyes set on building a first-class home for Swindon’s future talent once a solid foundation is laid.

He said: “It’s about utilising those relationships with local non-league clubs, and then seeing what we can do in terms of sending them to National League clubs.

“In terms of the academy though, category three to category two is a really big jump.

“The most important thing is that we make sure we’re really solid there so that the next time we get audited for the Elite Player Performance Pathway (EPPP) our category three is very safe and secure.

“Once we know that we can kick on and get the academy into a place we want to get it to.”