Scunthorpe United manager Brian Laws wants to get back 'lifeblood' of the club
IT WAS supposed to be a "win-win situation", but manager Brian Laws feels Scunthorpe United have "lost out" following their decision to scrap the reserve team this year.
Previous boss Alan Knill was a keen advocate of the idea, arguing the flexibility to arrange games as and when needed was more beneficial to the club as a whole and the youth players, who were often called upon to fill out the reserve side.
Consequently, with the board's backing, the Iron resigned from the Central League over the summer.
Since then however, United have struggled to arrange friendly matches, leaving long-term injury victims such as Damien Mozika and Paul Reid short on game time before being thrown back into first-team action.
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It is an issue Laws doesn't want them to suffer with next term and at the club's Annual General Meeting this week it was announced they would re-enter the reserve league in 2013/14.
"There are lots of benefits to it," said Laws.
"We know there are some negative sides to it but I think it's hugely supported by a lot of positives as well.
"Take it as it is, it will be done for next season, for sure.
"We're all in agreeance with that, not just the players and the management but the directors and the club as a whole are wanting to get back into the reserve league. It's important for us."
Knill insisted dropping the reserves would assist Scunthorpe's ambitions of producing their own players.
Instead of travelling to an unnecessary game to make up the numbers, it was hoped more time would be spent on their training.
At the time, Knill said: "More and more clubs are coming out of reserve leagues because it's becoming just another competition to play the youth team.
"When that happens, the kids are playing Saturday and then again on a Tuesday when instead they could be on the grass learning.
"It would be more beneficial for the young players coming through to be doing that."
Laws however, is convinced the opposite is true.
Keen to get back to a production line of home-grown players, he believes the youths need a stepping stone to bridge the gap before making the leap into the first-team.
"I'm a great believer in it. When I was at this club at the very start that was my belief and it's still the same," the manager explained.
"It's important that the club get back on that because it was the lifeblood of the football club.
"We're scraping around for games at this moment in time, asking clubs who haven't got games whether they'd be available.
"The fact that we could guarantee ourselves at least 18 games next season will help the players and particularly the younger ones who are coming through from the youth team. They need that next platform.
"This is the way the club's moving forward, we've got to get back on the conveyor belt of a production line of the kids coming through and getting into your first-team.
"It helps injured players massively as well."
United played a friendly against York City last week and were due to travel to Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday but a frozen pitch thwarted their plans.
They are now trying to arrange something for next week, but with other clubs' schedules filled with reserve games it is not always easy.
"It has been difficult to arrange games," said Laws.
"One reason is the weather conditions and the other is availability, which clubs are available to play.
"We don't want to travel too far around but most of the teams in and around us are in reserve leagues, so they're not really putting themselves forward.
"We have lost out a little bit but we're working hard each week that goes by to try to resurrect games.
"We're trying to plan for next week and the week after that because it's important to get the players some game time."