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Our Under-18s kick-off their FA Premier Academy League campaign at Crewe on Saturday.

Our Under-18s kick-off their FA Premier Academy League campaign at Crewe on Saturday.

First year scholar Richard Stroud will get his chance in goal after David Button dislocated a finger in pre-season with Under-16 keeper James Dalton on the bench - both played in our Spurs XI's friendly win at Canvey Island on Monday.

It's a tough curtain-raiser for the lads against a club renowned for their production line at youth level.

Academy manager John McDermott said: "Crewe as a player development Academy out-punch their weight when you look at the first team and I think in the last 10 years they've produced something like 13 £1million-plus players.

"They will be much stronger than the league position suggests and Dario Gradi and Steve Holland have done a fantastic job there.

"I know the people there very well, I know the type of football they play and the principles they stick to so it will be a good test for us."

As well as keeper Button, we will also be without Troy Archibald-Henville, Matthew Wells and Tomas Pekhart.

John said: "Troy is a super kid and with the injuries he's had to deal with it's testament to him that he's managed to stay positive. He was so close to being in contention for this game but he's had a setback with his knee. It's a real shame but he'll bounce back.

"We also have a couple of niggly ankle injuries to Matthew and Tomas but it's an opportunity for other lads and we'll be okay."

We finished sixth of 10 teams in a tight Group B last season and John is aware that performances go hand in hand with player progression.

He added: "The ambition is to try and fast track some of the lads through into Clive's group or Martin's group as soon as possible and give them the very best foundation to do that.

"We are aware the more successful the team is, the more confident the boys get through performances and winning games and therefore the more noticed they get. It's important we develop the lads, push them and the more successful we are, the better."