Shaun Derry sacking delays launch of Notts County academy in Hucknall

WHO'S THE BOSS? -- Shaun Derry in combative action for Notts County during a pre-season friendly at Hucknall Rolls last summer.

WHO'S THE BOSS? -- Shaun Derry in combative action for Notts County during a pre-season friendly at Hucknall Rolls last summer.

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The sacking of manager Shaun Derry has put on ice the long-awaited launch of a Notts County youth academy in Hucknall.

The unique pathway academy, which was first revealed by the Dispatch last July, was due to be unveiled with a media fanfare yesterday (Thursday) at the Rolls-Royce Leisure Club, off Watnall Road.

But Derry’s axe, with The Magpies in danger of relegation to the Football League’s basement division, threw all plans up in the air.

Now the academy, which will offer educational qualifications as well as coaching, must wait until the new boss is in place.

However, Jamie Brough, the director of football at Rolls, insisted there was no threat to the project.

“This is not Shaun Derry’s baby, even though he supported it,” said Brough. “This is very much a partnership with Notts County Football Club as a whole.”

The Dispatch understands that County’s new boss will be expected to back the pathway academy and help make it a success.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the country, it is primarily for players not offered a full-time contract at Meadow Lane at the age of 16. But it will be open to any young players to apply, boys or girls.

Said Brough: “They will be coached by Notts County staff at Rolls and treated like professional footballers. They will train on site, be educated on site and even eat on site. Rolls has all the facilities.”

“Notts even plan to offer a professional contract to one of the students at the end of the two-year course.”

The Magpies intend to stage an open training session, at which potential students can apply for places, at Rolls during the Easter school holidays on Thursday 9th April.