MAGPIES: Development League is key for Lucas

Dorset Echo: BULDING FOR THE FUTURE: Matt Lucas BULDING FOR THE FUTURE: Matt Lucas

DORCHESTER Town will enter a team in the newly-formed Dorset U21 Development League next season, but not in the FA Youth Cup.

Football director Matt Lucas, pictured, said it was “difficult to commit” to the FA Youth Cup when the club was in the process of moving their Under-18s out of the South West Counties League.

Instead, the Magpies’ youngsters are now getting ready to take part in the Dorset County FA’s new midweek floodlit league, a competition designed to aid the switch from youth to senior football.

Other clubs with teams in the league, which permits up to three over-age players a side in matches, include Weymouth, Poole Town, Wimborne Town and Swanage Town & Herston.

“We’ve come out of the South West Counties League and are going to be playing in the Dorset County FA’s new league,” confirmed Lucas.

“We will be playing our under-18s within that but we’re also going to be looking at arranging other games against teams similar to ourselves.

“There will be less travelling in the midweek league and it’s going to be much easier for the rest of the management at the club to watch the games with them being in the evening.

“It’s a more localised league and we’ll be playing each team at least three times, and there might be a cup competition as well.”

On the decision to withdraw from the FA Youth Cup, he added: “Because we didn’t know what league we’d be in and the fact we were coming away from the South West Counties, it made it difficult to commit to the FA Youth Cup.

“We weren’t in a position to make a decision on something when we didn’t know what was happening with the under-18s.”

The development league also allows first XI and reserve-team players the chance to gain match fitness.

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