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Graduation Day for the Young Bluebirds

Published: at 3:00pm

Four academy graduates join the first team for the 2023/24 season.

The CTFC Academy is once again shining brightly today as it proudly announces that subject to the relevant clearance Marcel Lewis, Otis Lewis, Joel Manning and Mal Nicholls have agreed terms and will be joining up with Chippenham Town FC for the 2023/24 season.

We have seen in recent times the success at the academy with players such as Ben Hughes and Ola Lawal moving on to the professional game with Swansea City and Falkirk, but we have also seen CTFC making use of this process as well with hometown lads such as Caine Bradbury, Will King and Leighton Tuodolo becoming regulars at the club over the last couple of seasons.

It is no surprise that with the success last season of the CTFC Academy particularly in the Under 19’s where they scooped up the league title and finished with a bang running out with a 1-0 victory against Rochdale in the NYFL Cup Final at the Hawthorns, we are seeing some of these lads promoted to the First Team Squad. We caught up with the man who knows them best, Joe Sharples for a little insight on the new lads.

Otis Lewis

Brought in last season from college football and was a very important part of the academy’s double winning squad. He has responded well to the step-up, despite suffering with some frustrating injuries last season. They did hold him back slightly but has come back this season one of the fittest players in the entire squad! Can play as a 7,10,11 or an 8 and that talent, versatility and work ethic will put him in a good spot this season.

Joel Manning

Joel came into our programme last season and was an important part of the academy group that won the double. He is somebody with high potential and somebody who deserves to be brought into the First XI group by Horgs. He also has a good season to look forward to at Melksham Town and will no doubt benefit massively from being dual registered with them as he looks to continue his development.

Mal Nicholls

Mal is in his 4th season with the academy and enjoyed a good move to North Leigh at the end of last season. Converted into a holding midfielder from a defender in recent times and has impressed everyone with not only his ability but his understanding of the role. He has a great opportunity here and can become an important part of the squad with more time and work. We are delighted to be able to give him that time as part of the First XI group this season.

Marcel Lewis

Marc was another one brought in from college alongside his brother and had a vital impact in our squad last season. That saw him earn a couple of First XI call up’s last season and made his home debut for Chippenham in the National League South coming on as a substitute against Tonbridge Angels. A forward player who can play as a 7,10 or an 11 and another with a bright future in the game who will definitely challenge the senior players this season.

Academy Manager Joe Sharples went on to say:

Our programme, pathway and idea for developing players into the first team and beyond is no secret and certainly in this part of the country we lead the way in that department. These boys, along with others announced shortly, represent some of the talent we have who have a genuine chance of progressing into the senior set up on a regular basis.

They’ve worked very hard and deserve the recognition and opportunity. I’m looking forward to seeing how they progress this season.

Chippenham Town FC have always impressed upon the need for this kind of pathway for the lads in the local area to progress with not only their football career but in their development off the pitch as well. We are very lucky to have an academy that very much impresses upon these young men that not everybody makes it, however, we will give you the very best of opportunities to do so.

We are absolutely delighted as a club to continue to bring forth young talent from the academy set up, and we will absolutely be keeping our eye on these young gentlemen as they take their steps into National League South football!

Congratulations to Joel, Marcel, Otis and Mal and watch this space for the next group of exciting, talented young footballers to come through our CTFC Academy!

Up the Bluebirds!

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