Bluebirds' midfield player James Waite is on loan with Weston-super-Mare, who are at home against Merthyr Town on Saturday.. Pic: Cardiff City.

Bluebirds And Martyrs Agree New Youth Partnership

Merthyr Town are teaming up with Championship club Cardiff City in a new youth partnership.

The Martyrs and the Bluebirds join forces on Friday when Merthyr will become an advanced development centre for Cardiff’s youth academy.

Development sessions will run concurrently with existing training sessions at The MetCoaches Stadium.

Merthyr Tydfil-born Cameron Coxe, a 21-year-old full-back, is currently in Cardiff’s first team squad. He attended Afon Taf High School, while he joined City’s academy at seven-years-old.

Jason Bowen, Declan John and current Martyrs manager Gavin Williams, who played for West Ham, are other professional footballers from Merthyr and Cardiff City will hope to see more talent emerging over the next few years.

The Bluebirds’ under-18 team are at home to Millwall in a Professional Development League this Saturday (Cardiff International Sports Stadium, noon) before entertaining Colchester United a week later (11am).

In the PDL under-23 competition, City play Colchester at home on Monday, January 13 (1pm) and travel to Coventry City a week later.

Cardiff City have a number of academy players out on loan at Cymru Premier, National League and Southern League clubs.

Cardiff City’s Sion Spence.

Cymru Premier League

George Ratcliffe and Sion Spence (Barry Town United)

Barry-born midfield player Spence, who has been with Cardiff’s academy since the age of seven, scored 11 goals in 15 PDL under-18 fixtures last season.

During 2017/18, his first season as an Under-18 apprentice, he netted 21 times to win the Academy Player of the Year award.

Barry Town are fourth in the Cymru Premier League.

Goalkeeper George Ratcliffe has been injured, while Spence played regularly over the festive period.

Dan Griffiths (Penybont FC)

Manager Rhys Griffiths’ Penybont opened 2020 with back-to-back draws – 0-0 at Caernarfon Town and 1-1 against Carmarthen Town.

Wrexham-born Dan Griffiths, an 18-year-old who started his youth career at Liverpool’s academy, was involved in both matches.

National League North

Jack Bodenham (Hereford FC)

Former Bluebirds manager Russell Slade is Hereford manager, while ex-Cardiff midfield player Tommy O’Sullivan is in their squad.

Left-sided central defender Jack Bodenham, aged 20, was on loan at The New Saints when they won the Welsh Premier League title and cup double last season.

“That was my first experience of full-time professional football,”said Bodenham. “Playing men’s football is a different learning curve.” 

Hereford are 16th in the National League North table.

Mark Harris is back with Cardiff City after a loan spell with Wrexham.

Vanarama National League

Mark Harris (Wrexham FC)

’Sparky’ Harris is now back with Cardiff. He joined Wrexham on a season-long loan deal in June, but the Dragons decided to end the agreement early this month.

Harris played for the Bluebirds under-23 team in their Professional Under-23 Development League match this week.

Southern Premier South

James Waite, Daniel Martin and Lloyd Humphries (Weston-super-Mare)

Weston-super-Mare, who welcome Merthyr Town to their Optima Stadium homing on Saturday, include three Cardiff City academy players in their squad.

Kent-born left-back Martin, a former Fulham academy player who is 20-years-old, played the full 90 minutes in all four matches for Weston since December 21 and was man of the match against Hendon last Saturday.

Waite, a 20-year-old all-action, aggressive midfield player, joined the Seagulls in October. Like Martin, he started all of the last four matches. Waite scored a hat-trick in Weston’s 4-0 win against Harrow Borough and was named man of the match.

Neath-born former Wales under-19 international Lloyd Humphries, aged 22, returned Weston just before Christmas having spent a loan spell there during 2016-17. 

The midfielder has featured in two matches for WsM, both in the New Year. He started against Truro City New Year’’s Day and against Hendon three days later.

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