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    Young Guns update


    Young Guns by John Jones.

    Ashley Baker (Sheffield Wednesday)
    Ashley seems to have settled well into his new life at Sheffield Wednesday and has become a regular member of their development team as was expected. The team has been having a good season and are on the verge of winning the title of their league, confirmation will come if they can win one of their 2 remaining matches. Ashley was signed to further strengthen this team and it is good to see that he has delivered on those expectations. Now will come a stiffer task as he would hope to progress well enough to be promoted into the first team squad. With the Wednesday first team also having a fairly good season, they are at this time situated in the final spot to qualify for the end of season Championship play-offs. If they can maintain or better this position over their 4 remaining games, there will be much excitement around Hiilsborough in May. With only one victor out of those four involved teams, disappointment is the higher probability outcome, but promotion into the Premier League is the objective that the players involved will give their utmost to attain. If it is Premier League football that awaits the Owls next season, it would undoubtedly increase the degree of difficulty for Ashley to make the first team squad by some considerable margin. There is a bonus however, being in the midst of a Premier League environment of players will give him an insight of the quality of skills needed to make a contribution at that level and possibly inspire him to work as hard as he can to continue the improvement in his play and try and secure a spot amongst them. Although it is what I am sure is his career goal, it will probably be a first team Championship experience that he will be striving for next season, that in itself not a bad thing to achieve and give an impetus to his desire to go on to even better future occasions.  

    Tom James (Yeovil Town)
    After a considerable number of games where he remained on the bench after his January transfer, Tom has finally been able to accumulate some field minutes lately. An appearance off the bench was followed by a starting role in the team for their latest game. With the season drawing to a close, he will be hoping that he will get further opportunities to impress the club management team in the next few games as he will try and earn himself an extended stay at the club by getting his contract renewed in the summer months. It would seem by what has transpired in the past that Tom is certainly a player that could easily flourish at League 2 level but as with many players in similar situations, the competition for a contract for the coming season will be extremely intense, the success of those that do earn that privilege likely due to their determination and desire as much as other qualities they possess. Whatever outcome awaits Tom in his footballing future, it is a wish that he has an enjoyable and fruitful result in his endeavours as he proceeds in the path of his choice.

    Tommy OSullivan (Colchester United)
    Having recovered from an injury sustained in a development squad match very soon after his arrival at Colchester in January, it is good to see that Tommy is regaining his match fitness and has been given some minutes from the bench in the last couple of the Us games. Not the desired circumstances for the start of the next phase of his career to see himself consigned to a recovery regime and he will I am sure try and make the most of what remains in the closing period of this campaign and then focus on the pre-season preparations in the summer as he attempts to repay the faith shown in him by the club and become a regular member of their starting eleven in the new season. At least he does have the good fortune of a contract that continues until the summer of 2018 and so avoids any distraction and a situation that could be unnerving. Tommy has shown instances of qualities that should make his quest for a first team place achievable when fully fit. This would not only offer him a chance to have a prolonged career as a professional footballer but also make Colchester feel very fortunate to have his services as a member of their squad.

    Tom Owen-Evans (Newport County)
    Tom has been playing an important part in Newports gallant effort to climb out of the relegation position they occupy in the League 2 table at this time, possibly none more so than an impressive strike for the only and thus winning goal in their latest match. He has been used in a combination of starting and substitute roles for the last few weeks and must be exhibiting good qualities to find himself involved in what must be a very tense situation for all the players that are striving to keep the Football League flag flying at Rodney Parade beyond these next few weeks. It is still very much a dire situation at the moment, one that leaves almost no margin for error as they will compete for as many points as they can muster in the very few games left to play. From what I have been able to gather, Bristol born Tom does have a dual nationality qualification eligibility and so is a viable candidate for inclusion as one of the Welsh young guns. What the future holds for both he and his club can only be discussed in speculative guesses at this time, but Tom seems worthy of being one to be kept an eye on his progress as things will continue to become clearer over time.

    Tyler Roberts (West Bromwich Albion on loan at Shrewsbury Town)
    I made a brief mention of Tylers commitment to remain loyal to Wales a couple of weeks ago with the intention of waiting a few more weeks before reviewing what he has achieved during this 2016-17 season. It does seem now that an injury has curtailed his time on the field to the extent that he may not recover sufficiently to play any further part in helping the Shrews stay above the relegation spots in League 1 at the conclusion of their 4 remaining matches. He had established himself as a firm favourite with the New Meadow fans and I imagine they will be that bit more anxious with the thought of his absence from the team. He has certainly proven himself extremely capable of competing successfully at League 1 level and it will be interesting to see what challenges are posed for him next season. The injury does not seem to be that serious and so he should be fully fit to participate in pre-season training with the Hawthorns club. It will more than likely be at this time that management and coaching staff at the club will complete their evaluation and decision of what the most prudent steps in his development should be. It does seem to be a choice of incorporating him into the Albion first team squad or finding a suitable arrangement with a Championship club to give him experience of football at one level below the step into the Premier League. Whether there is a delay or not, it does seem that it is only a matter of a relatively short time before Tyler will be battling Premier League defenders on a regular basis. That is an exciting thought for Welsh fans, as the next step would be senior international football.
    Posted: Wednesday 12th April 2017
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