HUDDERSFIELD TOWN will play competitive reserve team football next season – hopefully at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Two years after withdrawing from the Central League, they will field a team in the new English Under 21 competition.
Set up as part of the wide-reaching Elite Player Performance Plan, Town will be one of 12 clubs in the Category Two Northern section.
Crewe are first up a week today, with Barnsley, Birmingham, Coventry, Derby, Leeds, Leicester, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan also involved.
The fixtures are set up to mirror those in the FA Premier Academy League for Under 18s, and Town believe playing at the stadium is a must.
“It’s important these games are made as real as possible, and I have requested that we play at the stadium and therefore in front a crowd,” said manager Simon Grayson.
“The new league is a crucial next step in the long-term progress of this club and our player pathway.
“You only have to look at the teams we will be playing and you know the standard of opposition and the test they give us will be very high.
“We are totally committed to taking the opportunity the league offers because we believe it can have a big and positive effect on our developing players.
“The Under 21 matches will to a large extent replace formal reserve team football and informal behind closed doors development games and will in time lead to far fewer loans.