STEVE SMITH is back with Huddersfield Town.
The long-serving former player and club manager has been appointed head of recruitment for the academy as Mark Lillis continues restructuring.
Academy manager Lillis is keen to tap into the extensive experience and local knowledge of the Huddersfield-born 65-year-old, whose association with Town goes back to 1961, when he joined the groundstaff straight from school.
As well as making 381 appearances for the club, the last of them when he was on the coaching staff but stood in as an emergency at the age of 35, Smith was manager between January and October 1987.
Having also played for Halifax, he later coached at Bradford City and worked for the FA Premier League as an academy inspector.
“Steve’s knowledge of the youth game and football in general and his contacts in this area are second to none,” explained Lillis.
“We have one of the country’s biggest junior leagues on our doorstep, and it’s important that we maintain close ties with those clubs, which Steve will do.”
Town are working within the new Elite Player Performance Plan which governs youth development at the top level of professional football.
And Lillis is in the process of recruiting another coach as the club, boosted by the ongoing redevelopment of their Canalside training complex, aim to achieve category two level.
“We are following a staffing model, which means we will have two coaches for 12 to 16-year-olds, two for the 16 to 18-year-olds and Steve Eyre, who as the senior development coach will provide the link from the academy to first team,” he added.
“Developing young players is becoming more important than ever, and it’s great that (chairman) Dean Hoyle and (manager) Simon Grayson are both fully behind what we are trying to do with the academy.”
Grayson was today continuing preparations for Saturday’s penultimate League I clash at Walsall, where victory would keep alive the bid for a final position of fourth, and therefore home advantage in the play-off semi-final second leg clash with MK Dons.