Youth Team Players Addressed By First-Team ManagerAcademy Manager Ciaran Donnelly has revealed that Gary Bowyer was quick to address the club's youth team players at the start of pre-season.
The new Seasiders' boss sat the under-18s down for a pep talk and challenged them to follow in the footsteps of Henry Cameron, Luke Higham, Bright Osayi-Samuel and Macauley Wilson by earning a professional contract.
"The manager stressed in a meeting with our lads on day one that they've got a fantastic opportunity at this football club to get into the first-team. If they're good enough, they're old enough," Donnelly explained.
"He sat them down in the dugout at Bloomfield Road - so that they were looking out onto the pitch - and said 'Who's next?'
"They need to show me and then him that they're capable of stepping up and doing that. I'd be rubbing my hands at their age to go out there and prove that I'm that person."
Donnelly, who knows the manager from his days at Blackburn Rovers, is thrilled with Bowyer's appointment at the club and hopes to build on the fantastic relationship the pair share.
"When I heard the news he was coming in I was delighted, and it was great to be greeted with a hug and a general chat about football on his first day here.
"It's been a breath of fresh air to see the interest he has in the academy. He's always asking how the players are getting on and has passed a few ideas over to me.
"We're really pleased with how things are going from our point of view and we'll be there to help the manager along during the season whenever he needs us."
One big change for the youth team this season sees them based at the stadium before and after training, which means spending time around the first-team.
"We've spent too long separated from the first team and I feel that young players can only learn what it takes to be a professional by being around that environment every day," Donnelly admitted.
"We're now in the away team dressing room at Bloomfield Road and the first-team obviously get changed in the home dressing room. We tell the young players that the aim is to move down the corridor by producing performances that get noticed.
"There's now an easier transition to make the step up, should the players work hard enough."