Swindon Town Interim Academy Manager Alan McLoughlin has spoken of his pride after seeing Jordan Edwards make his professional debut on Saturday.
The talented attacker made his Town bow during our 3-0 win against Accrington Stanley on the final day of the season, following in the footsteps of Will Henry, Tom Smith, Jordan Young, Scott Twine and Joe Romanski who have all burst onto the scene in the past couple of years.
And McLoughlin went on to speak of the importance of strengthening the current pathway that exists between the Academy and the first-team.
"We are very pleased for them personally and they've worked very hard to get to where they've got to," he told swindontownfc.co.uk.
"It is a long journey, particularly for Scott Twine who has progressed through the Academy from a very young age, and let's not forget Jordan Young as well who has had an injury-ravaged season.
"He's the same age as Scott and was back with the first-team towards the end of the season, and you've got Will Henry and Tom Smith as well so there are a lot of players from the Academy who are in and around the first-team currently.
"It was great that Phil Brown listened, took things on board and he's got a history of developing players, he did it at Southend and he's keen to do that again given the opportunity.
"He has set a marker down in terms of enthusing everyone within the Academy and there is a pathway through to the first-team.
"Whether it is with Phil or someone else that is a pathway we need to try and encourage in all aspects.
"To see the boys progress and get an opportunity was great and hopefully they can kick on next year, particularly Scott Twine and Jordan Young who has a big year ahead of him if he can stay injury free.
"Scott is where I thought he would be in terms of his physical development and I'm expecting him to develop again because I know what he can do on the pitch, I know the attributes he's got but it is the physical aspect that is quite difficult to maintain over the course of a season, particularly if you are a young player.
"Both Joe Romanski and Jordan Edwards were opportunities which they probably didn't expect, and they now have to dampen their expectations because you aren't entitled to play every game just because you've played one match.
"We'll look to put players out on loan as Tom Smith and Scott Twine did and that will be the same for Jordan and Joe, unless they are ripping it up in pre-season and at the start of the season.
"There comes a point where they do have to gain some valuable mens' football experience and it has benefitted Scott Twine at Chippenham, it has benefitted Tom Smith at Bath and he's gone there and scored loads of goals.
"As an Academy we are very happy and it is always we as an Academy because a multitude of people have played a part in these players' developments.
"Jordan came in a little bit later to us and the likes of Joe Romanski popped up on our radar, and it is nice to see them progressing.
"Jordan was released, I felt it was right for him to come to us and he worked hard.
"Joe Romanksi wasn't at any club, I invited him in for training on Monday night and I signed him by the Thursday because I could see straightaway that he had talent and something different that hadn't been spotted elsewhere.
"That was fantastic for us as an Academy to be able to take him on board."