2017/18 – Overseas Tours = 3
2017/18 – Category One Equivalent Games = 16
Overall – Overseas Tours = 7
Overall – Category One Equivalent Games = 42
Quarter Two contained several different types of challenges for our players. We played the First Team’s of Watford and Southampton, competed against three of the biggest Italian teams in AC Milan, Atalanta and Inter Milan, and had several other competitive fixtures against the likes of Manchester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Glasgow Rangers, Swansea City, and AFC Bournemouth.
This season we have played 27 games which is slightly more than the Category One teams who are also competing in the Checkatrade Trophy. The staff and I have discussed potentially slowing down the turnover of fixtures in the next quarter and putting more focus on the individual development of our players by increasing training minutes and availability.
When you are within a team environment naturally the exciting part is when you compete and play games. However, it’s important that the technical staff and I remove ourselves from that mindset and focus on the development of each individual whether that be on or off the pitch.
We have confirmed games against Manchester City, Glasgow Rangers, Swansea City, Reading and many others for the next half of the year. We have also just confirmed fixtures in Ireland against Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk before their First Team league season restarts so that should be a very difficult challenge for our players. It will be similar to the fixture against Dundalk last year where the fitness levels of the opposition will be high and the players' experience will be better, but that’s the type of challenges we need to put the group closer to the First Team.
2017/18 – Brentford B Player Training with First Team = 336
2017/18 – First Team Debuts = 2
Overall – Brentford B Player Training with First Team = 745
Overall – First Team Debuts = 7
It’s really pleasing to see significant progress within our Player Pathway data. Comparing the training numbers to this stage last season we have more than doubled the amount of First Team training opportunities for Brentford B Players, we had 163 session to this point last season. It’s very clear in the data gathered that we provide players with opportunities to become First Team players. As staff we now need to improve on the quality of player we recruit for Brentford B and improve how we develop them as individuals, on and off the pitch, whilst continuing to encourage them to take ownership of their career's and invest in themselves as athletes.
Our aim for the season is to graduate two players to become First Team players. We have already had one that has been promoted in Chris Mepham and I believe, with the quality of players, opportunities provided, and the close collaboration between the First Team and B Team technical staff, we should be able to achieve our aim if we continue to improve our ability to develop individuals and teams.
The recent addition of Lars Friis can only support our strategy giving his experience within player development. It’s great that we’ve been able to add a coach specifically for the individual development of young players and I know the B Team staff and players are looking forward to working with him from tomorrow onwards.