Archie Christie reckons City have been transformed into a “university” for up-and-coming young players.

The club’s emphasis has shifted with the new development programme designed at youngsters aged 18 to 21.

With Christie and Wayne Allison on board, City hope to nurture teenage prospects into decent first-team additions.

Christie insists that the club can now provide a crucial part of their education from the youth team to the seniors.

He said: “It’s like being at university for these lads. This is where you come to learn.

“Pass the course and then obviously you know the rewards and I believe they are starting to understand this is what you have to do to get where you want to be.”

As with any university course, work placement is crucial. Youngsters will be sent out to non-League clubs on loan as part of the toughening-up process.

City are encouraging scouts to watch the current friendlies involving the development squad. Finding the right level of football to pitch their youngsters is key.

Christie said: “It’s very important where we place them. You have to find that appropriate level or they will not develop.

“It’s a good arrangement. The loan club gets one of our players at very little cost for a period of three or six months and we get someone back who is more prepared to make the step up to the first team.

“The lads will still be part of it here. They will train with us during the week and carry on their personal development before playing for their other club.

“It’s all part of the strategy and it clearly works. It’s something we’ve come up with here and it’s working elsewhere.

“It worked at Dagenham with the young lad Femi Ilesanmi. He went out on loan to Histon to toughen up, came back and has been in the first team ever since.

“There are over 700 players looking for a contract this summer – and over 2,000 youth players. They would be foolish not to take this opportunity and I’m grateful that they are.”