Forbes urges Town youngsters to use the Premier League as a carrot to reach Luton's first team
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Luton Development squad head coach Adrian Forbes has urged Town’s young guns to use the chance of becoming a Premier League player as the perfect carrot in their attempts to forge a career for themselves at Kenilworth Road.
The U21s kicked off their pre-season campaign with a 2-1 victory at Hitchin Town on Saturday, Millar Matthews-Lewis scoring the winner in the closing stages.
With a number involved already signing their first pro deals at the club, including Jacob Pinnington, Axel Piesold and Zack Nelson, then hopes are high for those coming through the ranks that they can go on to feature in the first team, as teenager Joe Johnson did last term.
With Luton now being a top flight club after winning the Championship play-off final last season, that should be all the incentive needed to give everything to achieve that dream, as Forbes told the club’s official website: “The boys know the task ahead of them, we are now in the process of developing players to go into the first team.
"That bar has now been raised and it’s down to us as a group of coaches, staff and players to raise that bar again to push them to get around Rob’s (Edwards) squad.
“We know it’s not going to be easy, but that’s what they are here to do and if they can’t see the Premier League as a carrot for them to want to come in everyday to listen, learn and develop then what better carrot can you have.”
With over 1,000 in attendance at Top Field, the vast majority cheering the Hatters on, Forbes knows more experiences like that can only benefit Town’s talented teens, especially as they will lack the games programme that other youngsters coming through at Premier League clubs have, with them still being a Category Two academy.
He continued: “Playing in front of a crowd is amazing for this group.
"With us being Category Three and not playing in a league, it’s not going to be very often that these boys play in front of a crowd this big.
"Ultimately, my job and the job of the club is to challenge this group and develop them to be able to cope with playing in front of crowds because we hopefully want them to be playing at Kenilworth Road in the Premier League in front of thousands of fans.
“To get just over one thousand fans at Hitchin has been amazing.
"You get to see how players cope with the crowd, even things like their name being read out on the tannoy.
"You don’t always get that all the time so it’s great for their development and it’s something we can hopefully expose them to again during the rest of the season.
“It’s going to be challenging again for us, we have to find the games for the boys to play in.
"We did brilliantly last year with the mix of teams that we had for the boys to play against and we’re going to be challenged with that again this year."
Meanwhile, on the game itself, which saw midfielder Tyrelle Newton open the scoring, Luton then pegged back before Matthews-Lewis won it late on, Forbes added: “Pre-season is about getting minutes in the legs of the boys.
"It was great to give the boys 45 minutes each, of course there’s a lot to work on, but there were also some really good bits.
“It was great to get the win at the end, I don’t know if we 100 percent deserved it, but I’m not going to complain.
"From my point of view, it’s great to be back out there with the lads over the last couple of weeks, getting the fitness up and it’s great to have a run-out against a good Hitchin team.”