Dave’s Academy role

21 Jun 2022 02:50
Published by: Scott Callan

New team: (from left) Julian Darby, Dave Gardiner and Matt Craddock

WANDERERS have confirmed the appointment of Dave Gardiner as the club’s new head of Academy.
The long-serving Gardiner – who has had a number of key coaching and development positions in Wanderers’ youth set-up in almost 15 years with the Whites – takes over following the departure of Mark Litherland.
Wanderers have also appointed Matt Craddock as the club’s new ‘B’ team head coach as part of key changes within the club’s Academy and football department. He steps up from his role as the head of coaching at the Whites’ Academy.
 And former Wanderers’ midfielder Julian Darby – whose coaching career has also included spells with Leeds United, Nottingham Forest and Preston North End – moves up from the U16s to replace Gardiner as the club’s U18s’ coach after almost six years back at Bolton.
Manager Ian Evatt said: “There have been some big decisions behind the scenes and what we’ve tried to do is promote from within – people that know the club, the community and the town. I’m a big believer in giving people opportunities. Dave deserves this opportunity. There’s no-one better than Dave for knowing the Academy, how it runs, what’s working and what’s not.
“Matt came in as head of coaching last season. We feel his relationship with Dave is an important one and he is very much a modern-thinking coach who believes in our brand and our identity and can really help develop those players in the stage between U18s and first-team football.
“Julian is another Bolton man and experienced coach and I’m really pleased with those three taking up those important roles. The club is moving in the right direction. That’s the most important thing.”
Gardiner, 42, said: “I’m excited by the challenge. The club is really going places and now it’s about making sure the Academy goes forward with that vision.
“We have a great infrastructure in place, we’ve got some fantastic youngsters in the Academy and some great staff.
“It’s now about making the most of the potential and being ready to move forward in the future as we do step up as an Academy.”

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