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Gallagher Stadium

Stones start under-23s development squad

Maidstone United are launching a new team next season.

The club’s application to join the Suburban League was accepted last night, paving the way for the introduction of a development squad.

Made up predominately of under-23s, the team will also give John Still and Hakan Hayrettin the chance to trial new recruits and keep first team fringe players match fit.

Home games will be played at the Gallagher Stadium on alternate Saturdays to the first team and opponents will include Aldershot Town, Bromley, Oxford City, Sutton United and Woking.

Bill Williams said: “This is an exciting and much-needed addition. Since our promotion from the Isthmian League, we’ve missed out by not having an under-23 league to offer to our academy and under 18 players.

“We want to bring current and former academy and youth players into the set-up and invite talented local players to apply.

“Alongside all the player development benefits, I think these matches will be attractive to some supporters who, for one reason or another, do not travel to away games. It’ll give them a quality game of football, closer to home.”

In keeping with other teams in the league, admission prices will be £4 for adults, £2 for concessions/students and free of charge for under 16s.

The Spitfire Lounge will be open, with the Stones Live commentary of that afternoon’s first team game broadcast in the bar.

John Still added: “I think the development squad will be another way of us finding players, I really do. You haven’t got to find loads but if you can get one or two into the first team squad, it serves its purpose.

“It’s a win-win because it will give people who want to play at a good level of football, who might not get the opportunity at a young age, a chance to do so. Community-wise it’s a fantastic thing for us to do too.”

A development squad manager, qualified to FA Level 2 or higher, is required. Applications for this voluntary role can be made by emailing info@maidstoneunited.co.uk.