FORMER Rovers boss Dave Penney is going back to the future by launching a new football academy in Doncaster.
Penney’s coaching project could not have been better timed, with Rovers boss Dean Saunders placing youth at the forefront of his plans to rebuild the club.
Eighteen-year-old left back James Husband has burst onto the first team scene since relegation from the Championship was confirmed - and Penney hopes his academy will help unearth more Rovers stars of the future.
Penney said: “Every club wants to bring young kids through and Doncaster is no different.
“It’s great for the supporters and great for the club’s identity to see young lads come up from the youth team.
“Bringing Willo [Paul Wilson, Rovers’ head of youth] to the club was one of the last things I did at Doncaster and if I see any players that are good enough, I’ll be on the phone to him to let him know.
“Paul Green is really the only one who has come through in recent years - and that was while I was still at the club.
“That gives you an idea of how tough it has been for Doncaster since they were relegated to the Conference.
“When the club lost Football League status it meant the likes of Scunthorpe, Leeds and the Sheffield clubs were getting first pick on the best young players.
“But that’s changed now - and with Husband coming into the first team there’s hope for the future.
“Parents see young players like James getting their chance and it encourages them to send their kids to Doncaster.”
The Dave Penney Football Academy launches next Wednesday at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Penney said: “The aim is to try and pick up the players who are just not good enough for the Doncaster Rovers academy and try and get them back on track.
“Maybe they’re just a lttle bit short of what Willo requires, or maybe they will have just come out of the youth teams.
“But we’ll try and work with them and push them back in there.
“When I was a kid I never had any coaching at all and I was 21 when I came out of non-league football.
“If I’d have had more coaching at a young age I would have been a better player and had a better career.
“We want the kids to come along and enjoy themselves,” he added.
“If the kids are enjoying it, they’ll learn as well.
“We’re starting it off for kids aged from five to twelve. Anybody between those ages is welcome to come along.
“Hopefully the kids in and around Doncaster will come and enjoy it.”
n Dave Penney Football Academy launch night: Wednesday, May 2: 5-8 years 6-7pm; 9-12 years 7-8pm.
The cost of each session is £4 per child.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.