Date: 13th June 2014 at 6:55pm
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Manager Neal Ardley has said he’s delighted that Wimbledon have been invited to play in the competitive U21 league next campaign.

We have been accepted into the Final Third Development League for 2014-15 and it will mean our U21’s get regular run outs. We are in the inaugural Southern Division along with teams like AFC Bournemouth, Luton Town, Cambridge United, Gillingham, Leyton Orient, Peterborough and Portsmouth, so it should be a good opportunity for our younger lads to test themselves on a regular basis to aide their development.

The club set up the U21 development squad last summer, but were restricted to playing friendlies and our only competitive action came in the occasional Premier League Cup and County Cup competitions, so this should be a good boost to our development of home grown players.

Speaking to the Official Site the gaffer explained that the additional 14 competitive fixtures should be a big help.

‘The idea was put to us as a category three club halfway through last season and I thought it would be a great idea for us to be involved. We want the U21s to play to win. They are coming out of that development phase and you want them to know about the importance of winning and the roles and responsibilities associated with that.’

With that behind them, Ardley believes that far more youngsters will be ready to make that transition to the first team, and importantly they will adjust far quicker because of that.

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