Academy director Ciaran Donnelly was delighted to see three academy stars feature for Blackpool’s first team on Wednesday evening.
Jack Sims, Cameron Antwi and Rob Apter all featured for the Seasiders in the Papa John’s Trophy against Leeds United’s Under-21’s, with the latter pair both making their competitive bows after progressing through the academy ranks.
Reflecting on a memorable evening for the academy, Donnelly was delighted to see the trio in action and play their part in a comfortable 3-0 victory at Bloomfield Road.
“It was really positive. It shows the really good work that’s been going on within the academy.
“There’s some good talent coming through. We have a manager that wants to bring players through and give them that opportunity, but when they deserve it and not just as a token gesture.
“We can look at all the players who are getting the opportunities and say honestly that they’ve put themselves in that position through their performances in training and in matches,” he added.
After keeping a clean sheet and making a vital save in the second half, Donnelly praised the impact of goalkeeper Jack Sims.
“I’ve known Jack Sims a long time from my previous stint. He’s a really professional lad.
“He’s dealt with a release from another club at 16, but he’s bounced back and moved up here to try and make a career for himself up."
Donnelly also commented on the performances of Antwi and Apter, with the latter appearing as a second half substitute to make his competitive debut in Tangerine.
“Cameron is a hard-working boy; he’s trying to learn his trade and make a good career for himself.
“I know there was a good buzz around him in pre-season, and he’s shown that he could be one for the future and he will continue to learn from those experiences.
“Rob was outstanding in the Youth Cup. That’s almost on top of all the training he does every day and the way he impresses the academy staff. That’s led him to this opportunity.
“We know Rob is not the kind of person that will get carried away by making one appearance for the first team. He will be craving more action and that will work in his benefit that he will work doubly hard to get more opportunities now,” he added.