Feb 8 2013 By Jacob Murtagh
Ose Aibangee Image 1
Brentford’s head of academy Ose Aibangee gives us the lowdown on the first half of the season and tells us about the club’s plans to ensure there’s a conveyer belt of homegrown stars gracing Griffin Park for years to come
"This is a new thing at some clubs, but it’s healthy that we started it last year before a lot of the clubs got out of the traps.
"We held our own in friendly games against Championship and Premier League clubs last season, which we’ve carried on this year.
"That gave us a good foundation to build on. The squad’s been together for 18 months and that’s why we’re towards the top of the league.
"A lot of the players have been training regularly with the first team, which gives them and others hunger. It’s down to the players to prove they’re ready.
"We have a manager at this club who will give the boys a chance if they’re good enough. Aaron Pierre made his debut recently, Antonio German’s been involved and scored a goal, while Jake Reeves is in the squad regularly.
"We’re not a PL club where there are 40 professionals. At a place like this all it takes is a suspension or an injury and there could be a chance to step up.
"We’ve also had some of our players get first-team experience elsewhere. Jake had a spell at AFC Wimbledon, but was recalled and went straight into the team here. Manny Oyeleke is with Northampton Town at the moment.
"Loans give them the experience to play competitive men’s football and prepare for the first team here."
"It’s been a bit of a wake-up call for the boys this season. We’ve got a really young side this year made up mostly of first-year scholars.
"We knew it was always going to be difficult, especially playing against established academies. The boys have found it difficult, but I’m confident the second part of the year will see results and performances improve.
"We’re not going to win the league but I’m pretty sure we won’t finish bottom either. It takes time for the kids to adapt and I think they will.
"It never worked out for Louis Lancaster for various reasons, but Jeremy Steele’s come in and the boys are responding to him well.
"He’s experienced and has worked at Portsmouth, Barnet and Stoke, where he left to come and join us because he believes in the project we’re doing here.
"Reaching the third round of the FA Youth Cup was an absolute minimum for us, which we did this year. Once you get there you could be playing one of the big clubs."
"We’ve built a partnership with Uxbridge High School where all of our U12s through to U16s will study there and train during the day as well.
"Football-wise I believe we’re as good as any one in the country and the education will be as well.
"It’s a fantastic school and their Ofsted record is outstanding.
"We’ve been granted planning to build an indoor dome at Uxbridge, which was one of our objectives when we overhauled the youth structure two and a half years ago.
"A lot of thought has gone into it to ensure it’s right to develop elite performers.
"There will be a 3G surface which is conducive to their training."
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