The first half of the 2010-11 season has seen another five Huddersfield Town Academy graduates make their professional debuts.
The Club has a rich recent history of players progressing through it’s ranks and this season has been no different with Liam Ridehalgh, Chris Atkinson, Jack Hunt, Leigh Franks and James Spencer all making their Football League bows.
Ridehalgh (19) and Atkinson (18) have both made the step up into Huddersfield manager Lee Clark’s first team during the current season whereas Hunt (20), Franks (19) and Spencer (19) have all made their league debuts out on loan.
Liam has capitalised on the opportunity handed to him at Huddersfield as a result of left back Gary Naysmith’s injury; he started his first League game in a 3-1 home victory over Charlton Athletic on 28 August and has not looked back, with 22 appearances now under his belt in all competitions.
Chris Atkinson is one of the latest Huddersfield Town Academy graduates to make his senior debut.
A terrific young midfielder, he had been a part of Lee Clark’s first team squad on many occasions this season and finally made it onto the pitch during the Club’s 6-0 victory over Macclesfield Town in the FA Cup in November.
Away from Huddersfield, second year pro Jack Hunt has been a virtual ever-present in John Sheridan’s starting eleven at League Two Chesterfield. A right-back, he has impressed during his time at the Spireites making 22 first team appearances.
19 year old striker Spencer joined League Two Morecambe on loan at the start of the season and has applied himself very well, gaining invaluable experience in a tough division. Jimmy has featured 14 times in Morecombe’s first team to date, scoring two goals.
Finally, Leigh Franks is the third Academy graduate the Club sent out on loan this season. Similarly to Jack and Jimmy, Leigh has spent the first half of the season in League Two with Oxford United. A strong central defender, he made five appearances in their first team before returning recently.
Huddersfield Town’s Academy Manager Graham Mitchell commented:
“The emergence of all five this season is great testament to all the staff at the Academy, and the hard work of the boys over many years. As with all young players they rely on opportunity, and it is encouraging that in Lee Clark we have a first team manager who allows this.”