Waterford U17 Head Coach John Furlong believes the infrastructure changes at the club have had a huge impact on the under-age set-up at the club. Furlong’s side are currently enjoying a fantastic season with the club currently unbeaten on 19 points
Waterford U17 Head Coach John Furlong believes the infrastructure changes at the club have had a huge impact on the under-age set-up at the club.
Furlong’s side are currently enjoying a fantastic season with the club currently unbeaten on 19 points and second in the SSE Airtricity League U17 Southern Division.
Waterford enjoyed a 2-0 win over Wexford at Ferrycarrig Park last time out and Furlong hopes to see the side’s form continue this weekend against leaders Shamrock Rovers.
“It’s been a great start for us, we drew a few games but we’re back on track now with three wins in a row. We’re delighted so far, to be unbeaten at this stage isn’t what we expected but it’s great to see,” Furlong said.
“I think if you look at the history and the rivalry between Waterford and Shamrock Rovers, it’s always going to be a big game. They’re the king pins of Irish football if you look at the history and they’re putting a lot into their Academy structure.
“That’s why you’re in the game, to play in these big games against big opposition and the players are really looking forward to it. We’re going to be in the Regional Sports Centre which will be great for the players so hopefully we can perform on the day.”
During the off-season, Swindon Town owner Lee Power purchased the club and his investment in the club has led to the senior squad leading the SSE Airtricity League First Division.
Furlong admitted that the club has a more professional feel to it with the new owner and hopes to see some of his players push themselves into the first-team soon.
He continued: “It is well-documented the troubles the club has had over the last ten years or so. It wasn’t all through lack of funding but no direction as well.
“I think since Lee Power took over, the club is going in a certain direction. The facilities are already there but the investment in the club is creating a professional feeling within the club.
“The players can see it. It’s what the league is set up for, to give those elite under-age players a chance to see that professionalism which is required at the top level. We train alongside the first-team and it does feel like the club is going somewhere at the moment and it is quite exciting for everyone.”
The London-born Furlong is in his first season with the club and has been assisted by the former Wexford Youths Women’s manager Gary Hunt, who Furlong was full of praise for.
He added: “Yeah, working with Gary has been great. We’ve not worked with each other before but obviously he’s experienced having managed Wexford Youths Women so it’s great to work with him.
“We’ve got the same football philosophy so we’re able to work together quite well and I definitely think the players are feeling the benefit of it.”