The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - NEWS - By Alan Swann alan.swann@jpress.co.uk @PTAlanSwann

Posh play­ing leg­end David Far­rell has landed his dream job.

The man who made 388 Posh ap­pear­ances in a 10-year spell at Lon­don Road, and who scored the great­est hat-trick in the club’s his­tory in a play­off semi-fi­nal against Bar­net in May, 2000, is man­ag­ing the Un­der 18 side at the ABAX Sta­dium.

The 45 year-old reck­ons it’s the tough­est job he’s had - league po­si­tion sug­gests as much - but he in­sists he’s thriv­ing un­der the pres­sure of pro­duc­ing first-team Posh play­ers of the fu­ture. A ne­ces­sity for clubs in the lower di­vi­sions.

There’s an irony con­sid­er­ing Far­rell be­came a pro­fes­sional foot­baller through the non-league route rather than through an Academy, but if any­one knows what it takes to be­come a suc­cess at Posh it’s a winger who reg­u­larly daz­zled the Lon­don Road faith­ful.

And he’s putting in the hours to help the am­bi­tions of oth­ers be­come a re­al­ity.

“I’m usu­ally in my of­fice at 7.30am five days a week and there are usu­ally games on a Saturday,” Far­rell re­vealed. “There’s a lot of work in­volved on and off the field, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m thriv­ing on the re­spon­si­bil­ity and I’m lov­ing ev­ery minute of it.

“It’s the job I al­ways wanted. I just wish I had been given a bit more time to pre­pare as we were al­ready three weeks into pre-sea­son when Jack (Col­li­son) left and I was asked to take over.

“I was thrilled though. Last sea­son I was help­ing Grant McCann and the first team by watch­ing fu­ture op­po­nents so I was spend­ing far too much time on the M62.

“This sea­son I was given the role of head coach at the Academy. I was ba­si­cally over­see­ing the other coaches, but there was so much pa­per­work and com­puter work, I wasn’t re­ally en­joy­ing it.

“Ob­vi­ously my role now is to help play­ers de­velop so they can gain pro­fes­sional con­tracts. When that hap­pens for the first time - and I hope the first one isn’t too far away - it will be a great feel­ing for me.

“I have an ex­cel­lent group of lads. They are all very grounded and they all know how hard it is to go from an Academy to a pro­fes­sional con­tract. I read the other day that only 0.12% of all first year pros are still in the Foot­ball League at the age of 21.

“I told the lads this the other day and the statis­tic proves you have to work hard for ev­ery minute of ev­ery day to make the most of this op­por­tu­nity. We drum this into the play­ers all the time.

“Re­sults haven’t been great this sea­son, but they are not the be all and end all at un­der 18 level. Ob­vi­ously re­sults are what peo­ple re­mem­ber and we want to be win­ning more games, but as the man­ager you can be sat­is­fied by a very good per­for­mance even if it only leads to a draw or even a de­feat. You want ev­i­dence of the play­ers learn­ing, of them tak­ing on board what we ask them to do.

“We tend to keep the lads on the train­ing pitch for threeto-four hours now. It’s more than they were used to last sea­son, but it’s the right thing to do.

“Grant McCann takes a keen in­ter­est in what we’re do­ing. I send him a re­port on ev­ery match. It’s all very thor­ough.”

Un­der­stand­ably Far­rell, who is as­sisted by highly-rated Academy coach Sam Dar­low, wasn’t keen on nam­ing the play­ers un­der his care who are clos­est to earn­ing a pro­fes­sional con­tract, but he’s aware of me­dia spec­u­la­tion sur­round­ing mid­fielder Luke Strachan. The Birm­ing­ham press claimed re­cently both Birm­ing­ham City and As­ton Villa were mon­i­tor­ing the progress of the son of for­mer Posh mid­fielder Gavin Strachan.

Far­rell man­aged the club’s un­der 23 team last sea­son and will as­sist first-team coach David Old­field when that team play cup matches. They haven’t en­tered a league this sea­son.

And there is one com­pe­ti­tion Far­rell is keen to see im­proved re­sults this sea­son.

“We’ve lost to non-league op­po­si­tion in the last two FA Youth Cups,” Far­rell said. “We want to put that right by hav­ing a good run this sea­son.”

David Far­rel l (left) and his as­sis­tant Sam Dar­low (SD) watch Posh Un­der 18s in ac­tion.

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