Helping develop the future stars for Glenavon

Pete Batey
Pete Batey

Glenavon reserve team boss Pete Batey is hoping his second spell at Mourneview Park will see more success than the first.

Batey was part of the Glenavon team who were relegated in 2004 but is now hoping to usher the next generation of Blues stars into a future higher up the league table.

Batey was brought in to take charge of the club’s reserve team shortly after manager Gary Hamilton’s arrival and is under no illusions as to his task.

“We’re going through a bit of a tough time results wise in the reserves but that’s not that important,” he said.

“As regards the development of players, it’s going well. Even if we can provide one or two players a year to the first team, I think it’s working.”

The club have certainly looked to blood their young teenagers with Rhys Marshall and James Singleton, shining in the first team. A host of others have made appearances in the senior side, much to Batey’s delight.

“There are a lot of clubs who talk about giving kids a chance but you don’t see them coming through,” he said.

“Gary actually does. The evidence is there and that make it easy for the scouts and I when we’re talking to players.

“It’s great there is evidence of Gary giving our young guys a chances. That’s testament to Gary and his staff.

“They’re improving the team while giving these guys a chance. He’s got the best team that Glenavon have had for quite a while. The club’s in as good a position as it has been in for almost 20 years.”

In order to do that, the club’s youth system has been overhauled with Thomas McStravick taking charge of the Academy, which now has closer links with the reserve team.

“We have the U16s, U19s and the reserves training together under one umbrella,” explained Batey.

“We’ve brought in extra coaches as well. We have about eight all working together. Gary told us he wanted structure and wanted players to progress through.

“Nigel Law has been a great help as well. He’s come down and helped to structure us as well.”

Things certainly have a sweet taste for Batey at the minute as all their hard work is paying off in international call-ups for four of his squad, who represented NI U18s last week.

He said: “We have four boys in the Northern Ireland U18 set-up in Jack Milligan, Andrew Hoey, Mark Sykes and Robbie McDaid. Andrew Mitchell represented NI as well.

“At one stage, we could have fielded 10 internationals last season. Then there are other boys who mature at different rates too.”