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  1. Kevin Nolan has spoken highly of Notts County academy product Dongda He and is confident of the club bringing through youngsters of high pedigree in the coming years. The Magpies have experienced a drought in talented academy players coming through the ranks to establish themselves in the senior team, with only Curtis Thompson and Haydn Hollis having made the breakthrough recently. However, with He looking like a real talent and the likes of Remaye Campbell, Pierce Bird, Alex Howes and new recruits Tom Crawford and Will Patching, the future is looking bright for those in black and white. "It's fantastic. It's been a while coming,” Nolan told the Nottingham Post. "With Dongda, we only just got his visa a few weeks ago, but we've got high hopes for him. "There's a number of young lads in our system who we feel can make an impact. Tom Crawford, who we got from Chester, you can see he's got a brilliant attitude. Alex Howes, young Spike, has been great. "We've got high hopes for a few of them. We'll see them in and around the first team more this season because the squad is a lot younger than last season. They'll get chances during the season.” Focusing on He, Nolan added: "Dongda did really well. It took him a little bit of time to get used to the game, but we expected that as he's only been training with us for a week or two,” he said. "He's got real ability and we'd like to release that at some point. He's under no pressure though. None at all. We want to create an environment where he can thrive here." Share your thoughts about this news story on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
  2. There is a growing trend in English football which I feel highlights the flaws in youth progression. Many teams, from Premier League all the way down to League Two, tend to release promising young professionals only to re-sign them a few years later. It feels like the transition into first-team football is majorly flawed - perhaps due to too much pressure to produce good talent? We have seen this from the insane record-breaking transfer of Paul Pogba back to Manchester United, along with the free signing at Notts County of local player Terry Hawkridge. A few weeks ago Michael Keane was also linked with a move back to Man United for another incredible fee, although has since signed with Everton. And despite not being a youth, we have seen this pattern emerge with released players such as the recent saga between Notts and Forest Green Rovers for the services of Liam Noble. Back in 2009/10 when Notts restored its own development of youth players, a batch of professionals was produced who all looked fairly able to make the set up into the professional game, with the likes of Haydn Hollis, Curtis Thompson, Kyle Dixon and Liam Mitchell among others. Yet only Haydn Hollis and Curtis Thompson remain at the club, with other young players like Brad McGowan, Nathan Fox, Jordan Richards and even Montel Gibson all being released after failing to stake their claim for first-team football. So why are we failing to produce natural talent? I think clubs like Notts pile pressure onto young players who are simply not ready mentally for the dizzy heights of the professional game, with a lack of support and further development most likely attributing to the failure of these prospects. It argues the case that clubs like ours really need to help with the mental side, but not just this - having youngsters on the bench is a waste and I strongly feel that they should be sent out on loan where other teams can help establish them further with proper game time. Usually it's quite natural to see a player re-sign for his former club, yet in most cases these are seasoned professionals, players who know what to expect and still have links with the club. I would agree that Hawkridge and Elliot Hodge are prime examples that good players can make the right progression and become useful first team members if they’re only looked after more wisely. Luther Wildin and Jack McMillan are youngsters I was disappointed to see released, as they seemed very capable of making the step up and after the retained list was announced I felt exactly the same about Yohan Rutty-Smith. Whilst academies are getting smarter with their setup across the Football League, more support needs to be given in the lower leagues to enable teams to produce better players. I realise some fans will argue that naturally the players I mentioned are simply not good enough, yet when we fail to produce players who can make more than a few appearances, it does show that there is a lot more to be done. Share your thoughts about this feature article on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. We at Pride of Nottingham want you to enjoy all our content for free. If you fancy helping us provide even better content, however, please consider contributing to PON by clicking here!
  3. Notts County academy manager Jon Goodman says first-team boss Kevin Nolan is supportive of the project that Goodman will be undertaking with the club's youngsters. The former Nike Academy head arrived at Meadow Lane last month tasked with revamping the Magpies academy and ensuring the young players can prosper to the point of being first-teamers. Flanked by assistant manager Richard Thomas, Goodman is now able to get to work with the academy players, now they've reported back to the club for pre-season. He told the official site: "Our remit is to develop first-team players for Notts County. "Richard will be a big help to us because he's got great experience as an academy manager at Leyton Orient and a wonderful relationship with Kevin Nolan, who is also very supportive of everything we're trying to achieve. "The manager's eyes are on the first team but he is very aware of everything that's happening underneath. "Over the years sports science has evolved enormously and I've been lucky to work with some really good support teams. "If we look at every aspect of player development, there's a scientific rationale behind the best practices. That's what we're trying to implement while remembering there's a human factor. "These are young men trying to find their way in life so everything we add to the programme is to empower them to make good decisions, have successful careers and be good people." Share your thoughts about this news story on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans.
  4. Former Millwall, Wimbledon and Republic of Ireland forward Jon Goodman has been appointed as Notts County's new academy manager. The 45-year-old joins the Magpies from the Nike Academy, where he spent three years coaching and developing talented unsigned players. Goodman previously worked as head of sports science at Leeds United and Reading, and also ran a consultancy business which included Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton among its clients. He told the official Notts website: “I am really excited to begin working at Notts County as academy manager. “While working with Nike I took a keen interest in the club as I have known a number of the staff over the years. It’s also been brilliant to see the impact made by one of our former players, Jorge Grant, this season. “I have been impressed by the vision, ambition and passion of the chairman, both for the club and the academy, and I look forward to delivering a successful programme that represents our core values of integrity, hard work, competition, positivity and responsibility." Simon Clark, who was previously reported as having joined Notts as academy manager from Charlton Athletic, is now also on the books at Meadow Lane, as lead professional development phase coach. Share your thoughts about this news story on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans.
  5. So Jon Goodman is the new Notts County academy coach and Simon Clark is the lead professional development phase coach (story below). What do you know about these two? Reckon they're a good fit for Notts and can help spur our academy to the next level? Let PON know!
  6. With Scott Loach out on loan at York City, Notts County have turned to Joe Searson as their second-choice goalkeeper. The 18-year-old has been on the bench over the last few games, and he has received praise from first-choice custodian Adam Collin. Collin told the Nottingham Post: "Joe has done really well. Since the manager came in and Norm (Mark Crossley) became goalkeeping coach, they have wanted three goalkeepers in training every day. "Joe has been involved with myself and Scott Loach on a full-time basis. He is progressing really well, he's a good young pro and I am sure he has got a bright future ahead of him." Anybody seen Searson in training or in youth games? What is he like? Do you reckon the opportunity of first-team football is warranted at this stage, or should he be given more time to develop in the academy?
  7. Notts County academy star Luther Wildin is making a bit of a name for himself on the international stage as well as at Meadow Lane. He scored a corker for Antigua & Barbuda's Under-20 side in their 4-1 defeat against Honduras in the CONCACAF Under-20s Cup. Admittedly their defence doesn't really seem to be trying, but kudos to the 20-year-old for persevering through them and for the good finish.

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