Huddersfield to launch B team
Written by Simon Austin — July 30, 2020
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN are creating a B team as they aim to become “leaders in transitioning young players to the first team."
The Terriers downgraded from Category Two to Four status in September 2017, meaning they only run Academy training squads at U17 and U19 level.
Now they are replacing their Elite Development Team (effectively their U23s, which played fixtures but did not train as a group) with Huddersfield B, who will “play in a mix of competitions like the Premier League Cup, take on high-level European opposition when it is safe to do so, face senior sides from lower divisions in stadia and play other games tailored to aid the players’ development.”
The team will be managed by Danny Schofield, who worked alongside new first team Head Coach Carlos Corberán at Leeds United and has been Huddersfield's U19s coach since February.
The inspiration for the new model is Brentford, who scrapped their Academy and launched a B team in the 2016/17 season. Mark Devlin, who was appointed CEO of Huddersfield in January, held the same role with the Bees from 2011 to 2018.
The B team squad will train alongside the first team, “ensuring that the young players have a full understanding of the senior squad’s methods and playing style.”
First-team players not featuring in Championship games are expected to play for the B Team, “which should help the young players understand the levels they have to aspire to.”
Young players are still expected to go on loan, though not as often.
Head of Football Operations Leigh Bromby said: “As we’ve discussed a lot recently, we have a commitment at this club to develop our own players who are good enough to thrive for our first team in the Sky Bet Championship.
“Lots of clubs talk about that, but it takes a genuine commitment in culture at a club, and a commitment in the way you work daily, to make it work.
“I believe the changes we have made in the Academy in the last two-and-a-half years have been a real success through a tough period for the club and the creation of Huddersfield Town B is the next step in this process.
“The closeness of the B Team to the first team has only been made possible by having the complete buy-in from the chairman, the Board, the Head Coach and every single member of staff.
“We must have a desire to work to develop footballers, in order to give them every chance of being successful. Academy players played almost 6,000 minutes for the first team last season and we are determined to build on that.
“Our goal is to become one of the best clubs at transitioning young players to the first team and I believe that this change will help us become one of the leaders on that front.”
Eleven ‘Young Terriers’ featured for Huddersfield’s first team last season, with a total of 14 featuring in matchday squads.
However, the team only secured their Championship status in the penultimate match of the season and Danny Cowley, their second permanent manager of the campaign, was subsequently sacked.
Will U19 squad continue?
Yes. This will be led by Jon Worthington, who will oversee both the U19 & U17 groups with the assistance of George Danaher & Oran Thompson. This will allow a really fluid model where the players will often train together. The staff will select players for the matches dependent on the individual needs of each player at any given time.
What did Danny Schofield do before?
He managed both the U19s and the Elite Development Team - effectively the U23s, who played fixtures but did not train together. Mark Hudson, who was first team coach last season, was U23 coach prior to the Academy restructure announced in September 2017.
Who are the rest of the staff for the B team?
Danny Schofield and Paul Bower (Physical Performance Coach). The group will train mainly with the first-team squad, meaning the first team staff will be closely involved in the day-to-day development of the players. For matches, they will also be supported by first team staff.
Are fixtures lined up for B team yet?
One fixture has been organised, but not announced yet. Once the first team fixture list has been announced/ released, the B Team fixture list will be decided. The plan is to base the B team fixtures around the first team games - ie to have them on the same day, either before or after the first team game where possible.
(Thanks to Huddersfield content manager Adam Tomlinson for this Q&A).