ALBION Sports will be joining some of their neighbours next season by fielding a side in the Lancashire League.
Ravinder Dharni coached the club's under-21s last season and he will be involved with the new open-age side that will essentially be Albion's reserve team.
Dharni saw some of his players progress into Albion's first-team squad last season and he is delighted to be able to keep the squad together in an open-age division and hopes the club will benefit from it.
"We think the Lancashire League will give our players a wealth of experience," he said.
"There are some very good clubs with sides in it, such as Thackley, Emley, the Ossett clubs (Town and Albion) and Eccleshill United.
"We have kept 80 per cent of the squad from the under-21s last season and we felt that it would be better for their development to go into this kind of a league.
"It is well structured and more like an academy. I think it will be better for their progression than the Sunday Alliance League – but Albion will also have a team in that league as well, so there will be places available for all of our players."
The extensions to Albion Sports, whose first team play their football in the Toolstation Northern Counties East League Premier Division, will create opportunities for new players and Dharni hopes some young local talent will come forward and join the ranks.
"We are holding open trials at our training sessions and we will welcome anyone who feels they can play at this level or above," he said.
"We are training at Woodhall Playing Fields at 6.30pm every Thursday through July. When the season starts, the games will be at Thornton Grammar School on the 3G pitch on Friday evenings.
"We would like some new recruits because we had three players last year who went through to the first team. The players will be able to progress through the ranks.
"It will be like a full reserve side for Albion as we will be working closely with Kulwinder (first-team manager Sandhu). Any of his players coming back from injury or needing some match fitness will be involved in our squad.
"That will bring a vast amount of experience to our development side and help them on their learning curve."
Anyone interested in the chance of joining one of the area's top non-League clubs can contact Dharni on 07753-604471 or firstname.lastname@example.org.