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Academy ready for kick-off

Posted on 23 August 2002  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Hopes are high again as our Under-19 and 17 sides kick-off their FA Premier Academy League campaigns at Sheffield United on Saturday.

Jimmy Neighbour has certainly been impressed with his new intake of Under-17 boys as they've adapted to life at Spurs in pre-season.

"They've improved," said Jim. "A few came in and you aret thinking 'have you got what it takes?' but even in the four, five weeks they've been in you can see that improvement already. That is what we are here do do.

"Hopefully they will continue that improvement and, in a few years, be part of our professional ranks at Tottenham. That's what it's all about."

The Blades actually knocked Jimmy's boys out of the Academy play-offs last season but Jimmy reckons that will matter little come Saturday.

He reasoned: "It's a new season, I've lost all those boys, so have they probably so it's two completely new teams.

"As I've said, it's not the most important thing that we win games, the most important thing is to try and get some of these boys progressing into our first team."

The U17s completed their pre-season programme with a 2-0 win against Birmingham City.

Phil Ifil and Davy Jones were on target. "It was a good performance considering we had a very young team out," said Jimmy.

U17s v Birmingham: Eyre, Ifil, Jenkins, Hodges, Welch, Price, Lee, Watson, Francis, Ahmed, Jones. Subs (all used): Forecast, Lawson, Daniels, Stevens, Tague, Toussaint.

Under-19 boss Pat Holland admits his pre-season has been slightly more difficult.

"It's been a bit fragmented," said Pat. "We lost a few to injury early on, which was frustrating especially in terms of team formation.

"We'll probably use a few of the U19s who are now in the reserve set up to start with. They are now working with the reserves and first team groups so sometimes it takes strength of character to come back, so hopefully we'll see that."

That final pre-season friendly was a 3-0 defeat against Birmingham City.

Pat added: "We didn't play particularly well, we had six first years and a schoolboy who did well, Joe North, so it's been a difficult week but I hope they can turn it around on Saturday."

U19s v Birmingham: Rutherford, Perry, McKie, Hicks, Foster, Dobson, Noto, McKenna, Malcolm, Yeates, Ford (North).