Richard Beale | Let's ensure FA Cup opportunity isn't 'one-off'

A photo of Albion PL2 boss Richard Beale handing out instructions on the training pitches at the Baggies' training ground

Richard Beale is keen to see more of his young pros stay in and around the first-team mix after their involvement in last week’s Emirates FA Cup win.

The senior team defeated Aldershot Town 4-1 in a game which saw Carlos Corberán hand out five debuts to U21s quintet Fenton Heard, Harry Whitwell, Akeel Higgins, Layton Love and Josh Shaw - while there were also starts for academy quartet Tom Fellows, Josh Griffiths, Caleb Taylor and Jovan Malcolm.

A photo of Albion U21s quintet Harry Whitwell, Fenton Heard, Josh Shaw, Akeel Higgins and Layton Love posing together after making their first team debuts
A photo of Albion U21s players (left to right) Harry Whitwell, Fenton Heard, Josh Shaw, Akeel Higgins and Layton Love

Beale, though, is determined to see members of his squad do “everything they can” to continue their involvement in senior affairs this season - which starts by producing in the PL2 side’s clash with West Ham United at the West Bromwich Albion Training Ground on Monday afternoon (ko 1pm).

The Baggies’ Professional Development Phase boss is also excited to see how first-year scholars Cole Deeming and Ollie Bostock develop in his team, having impressed in the final game of 2023 against Everton.

He said: “Our last game at Everton was a really good performance and we want the lads to build on that. We had a 16-year-old and two 17-year-olds on the pitch and that bodes really well and it’s the way we’re going to go.

A photo of Albion U18s midfielder Cole Deeming
A photo of Albion U18s midfielder Cole Deeming

“Results aren’t always going to be positive, we’re going to have some games where we suffer because of our young players’ lack of experience at the level.

“However, neither Cole nor Ollie let themselves down at Everton. They were both there on merit and that’s carried on in training sessions since and we’ve got really high hopes for those boys. The pair of them are fully involved in the U21s setup now.

“They’ve put some of the older boys under pressure now and are creating good competition and we want that because it breeds quality.

A photo of Albion U18s midfielder Ollie Bostock in action at The Hawthorns
A photo of Albion U18s attacker Ollie Bostock

“The Aldershot game was a fantastic day for the club and the academy.

“It shows the club backs the academy and everybody, from the fans through to the first-team manager, wants the lads to come through.

“It’s fantastic for the manager to give them the opportunity, fantastic to see Tom and Caleb starting, Fenton did really well and Harry came on and set up a goal.

"For those who came on off the bench, it was such a big moment for them because most of them will have been here since they were seven-years-old, training four or five times a week, with the aim of doing what they did on Sunday.

“What it’s about now is taking the experience from that and making sure it’s not a one-off and that they do everything they can now to get in and around it again regularly.

“Whoever we play in the PL2, we strive to be at our best every time. They’ve got to get into someone’s first team and the key is to give 100 per cent and the best way of doing that will be getting them as close to their capacity physically, technically, tactically and mentally every time they play.”

How to follow the match

Tickets will be unavailable for Monday's match against the Hammers at Albion's training ground. 

A live stream will not be provided for the match. Fans can follow updates on the game across the club's social media channels.

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