With the Academy into their sixth week of pre-season, Youth Development Manager Paul McGuire provided an update on their progress as they look forward to kicking off the 2020/21 EFL CEFA campaign.
The safety of the players and coaches has been at the forefront of their new socially distanced training regime, and Paul was full of praise for the efficiency in which everyone has adapted to this challenge.
“It has been great; we have been all around Greater Manchester and Cheshire in a load of different venues, and we have been able to see the lads face to face.
“I think it has been quite unique what we are doing, but we wouldn’t change it for the world – I actually think in future years we will do it this way now.
“What is the point of getting 70/80 lads together when you can go and see them individually? So, it has been fantastic, and I am really happy with how things are going.”
Paul went on to shed some light on the challenges faced by the coaches to implement a safe training environment at nine different venues throughout the region.
“It was just about communicating with the lads, they have been a lot better this year when it comes to responding to us and getting in touch; and obviously we selected the locations that were suitable and close to their houses.
“So, in terms of getting it up and running, it was quite easy for us – we found it quite comfortable.”
When asked about the next step for the young players involved, Paul outlined the process for those keen to be involved in the upcoming season.
“Now it is about enrolling, they have been with us now for a long time doing the course – we have got the signed conditional offers from 51 players.
“So, at the backend of August there are four days at the college where they have got to turn up and take their GCSE results and go down to enrol.
“They can go on their own, in a group or with their parents – but they have to enrol at the college, so it is important that it gets done.
“They will get all of that information from us, but they have also had it in their information packs from the college.”
With the addition of new coaches, media students and photographers in the Academy setup ahead of the new campaign, Paul is looking forward to seeing the impact the new faces are able to make this season.
“It is a new fresh vibe,” he said.
“You need your core staff that have been with you a while in terms of they know what is expected and they know what I want; but we have changed a few people – a few people have gone, a lot of new people have come in, and there are a lot of people who have applied for part-time, full-time and volunteer jobs recently.
“I think it is really key, and I’ll be really happy to get some fresh blood in the coaching team.
“It’s now about getting them into Macclesfield Town gear, getting them on the side of the pitches, and helping these lads to develop.
“It is really important for these lads to see fresh new members of staff doing things right.”
With the August kick-off date fast approaching, Paul is keen to see the new crop of young talent compete with the best the EFL CEFA league have to offer.
“It will be great, won’t it? We are looking forward to that and the lads are looking forward to that – luckily, we have started the recruitment process, as we always do, a year in advance so we have seen them play.
“As soon as we can get on pitches we have got a lot of friendlies lined up, starting Saturday 15th August.
"Lots of teams want to play us as ever and it will be great to see the mixture of our new and existing players on the pitch together – there is going to be really fierce competition for places, so we are all really looking forward to the matches.”