Young Bolton Wanderers players can only benefit from new league
LENNIE Lawrence believes the revamped FA Under-21s Premier league is an improvement on previous incarnations of reserve team football.
The vastly-experienced Wanderers assistant manager has closely monitored the progress of Jamie Fullarton’s side this season.
After Monday night’s 3-2 defeat against Everton, the young Whites sit ninth out of 22 clubs in the table, having won six of their 15 games.
While the first team has struggled in the Championship, the progress in the second string has been an encouraging sign for Lawrence, pictured.
And while he admits there are some physical limitations within the team at present, he believes the experience of playing against some of the top youth players from the Premier League’s elite has brought on some of the players.
“There are a few quite talented players,” he said.
“We are not the biggest or strongest but you have to show patience and this under-21 league is far better than the past reserve football.
“It’s been a great experience, especially as we’re one of only a handful of clubs outside the Premier League with Category One status.”
The new league format sees 22 clubs play each other once, with the top four going on to play a semi-final and a final to decide the league champions.
The top 11 clubs will also remain in the top tier of the under-21 league next season, while the bottom 11 will create a new division.
That means there is still plenty to play for in the remaining seven games of this season, two of which will be played at the Reebok Stadium.