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U20s: the new signings for 2013/14

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Michael Jones was Glasgow based and worked with Peter Weir. He is a striker and has been in the system since joining the U11s. We have high hopes for him. During the last part of the season he played up front with Scott Wright and they formed a good partnership. Scott is from Balmedie, so he is a local lad and a striker as well. He too has like Michael and has been in the system from the U11s. They seem to be on the same wave-length when they are playing. We were across in Ireland last year in the Galway Cup and you could see some good combination play between them, you could see there was an understanding of each other's game. I am hopeful they will do well as a twin partnership in the U17s next year. They are quite good at interchanging. Sometimes Scott plays up top and Michael goes short or the other way around.


"They are both only 16 so will hopefully have a good number of years ahead of them in the U20s.

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Michael Kelly was spotted at an U12s Boys Club Tournament in Ayrshire and is from Kilmarnock. Michael has obviously gone on and played for Scotland at Under 15s level. He can play left back or left centre back. A naturally left footed player he is a very fit lad and he is also a leader and in this day and age you need someone you can lead. He gets the guys going and shows good leadership qualities. The experience he gained with Scotland will also stand him in good stead.


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Richie Petrie was originally in the AFC Youth Academy when he was 12 but dropped out and went back to his boys club. We then resigned him from Dyce Boys Club as an U15 player and he did very well and went on to play for Scotland along with Michael Kelly. He has worked really hard at his game and has been rewarded with a contract. Richie is a centre back or holding midfielder. Colin Grant


"All these four boys will train full time with the club and but are still able to play for the U17s this season. They will find it a big change. It is a big change to your lifestyle and your whole body is changing because of the full time training.


"I hope all the boys will push on and the full time training will help them greatly. If they keep developing the way they have over the past few years then there is no reason why they can't play for the first team one day.


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Scott McKenna has been in our system as long as I can remember. If there is anyone who deserves to make it in the game it is Scott. He is from Kirriemuir and had to get two trains to get up to training which took a long time. Whatever the weather, whatever the time of year, he never missed a training session. Scott is a centre back or left back. He played for the U20s last year and I know the manager, Tony Docherty and Neil Cooper were all really impressed with his performances and he did not look out of place in any of the games. He is a good lad who deserves to do well and I am really confident he will push on.


"He is another player with a good attitude. That is vital. If you do not have the desire and hunger then they will never make it. As we all know Neil Cooper is a fantastic coach but he also does a great job in helping them in their overall development. Although sometimes he has to be tough with them it is all part of the learning curve the players go through.


"The players need to be focused. There is also a very good work ethic amongst the U20s. The boys see their team mates getting into the first team and then think that I will have to work hard to get into the side as well.


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Finally Craig Burns is a goalkeeper. Craig was with Clyde for a while and Peter Weir saw him play and was very impressed. He then played for our 17s last season and did very well towards the end of the season. There was a need for another full time goalkeeper so Craig got the opportunity. He is a Paisley lad and I hope he will do well.


"There is a lot of thought about who does come in. There is obviously disappointment for the players who do not get the chance to make the next step. Everyone gets an input it the decision making process. All the coaches get an input as they are the ones who see them play every week. I see them play every second week when they are at home, Neil Simpson sees them every second week. So it is not just a run of the mill decision, it is a very balanced approach."


Everyone at AFC wishes the two Michael's, the two Scott's, Ritchie and Craig all the very best for their careers at Pittodrie


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