Iain Brunskill eyes further Development Squad success stories

Under-21s coach challenges young Whites to follow in first team quartet's footsteps

Having seen Rob Holding impress for the Bolton Wanderers’ first team in recent weeks, Under-21s head coach Iain Brunskill has challenged his players to be the next follow in the defender’s footsteps.

Handed his senior bow against Burton Albion back in August, Holding has been an ever-present for Neil Lennon’s side since breaking back into the first team at the start of last month following a number of impressive displays for the young Whites.

One of four youngsters currently in the Bolton first team squad, he was also a member of the Trotters side that won the Manchester FA Senior Cup earlier this season, leaving Brunskill pleased with the progress of his Development Squad since joining the club in November 2014.

“Rob has been doing very well since getting into the side,” Brunskill told bwfc.co.uk “Hopefully he’ll now continue to establish himself.

“Our primary aim has always been to help the players make that step up into the first team. Last season we had a number of lads who made their debuts and this season we’ve built on that. 

“We’ve already got Zach Clough and Josh Vela established in the first team, with Tom Walker also in and around the mix. 

“Alex Finney made his debut earlier in the season, while Kaiyne Woolery has been involved a couple of times too.

“That is what it’s all about. In terms of pushing players on into the first team it has been a successful year.”

Three late goals saw the young Whites concede a 3-0 half-time lead to lose 4-3 in their last match before Christmas against Coventry City.

Returning to action away at Birmingham City on Monday, Brunskill is keen for his players to not rue any missed opportunities, particularly with an FA Cup tie away at non-league side Eastleigh on the horizon. 

“The last game should have been playing on the players’ minds over Christmas,” he said. “It should be after every match as they need to learn from each experience. 

“It was a difficult pitch in windy conditions, but this is something the first team are going to have to encounter in the FA Cup in a couple of weeks. 

“We know the supporters look at this group at the younger players. These games provide opportunities for the players, for them to do themselves justice and earn a run-out.” 

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