Day student Harry Whittington has been enjoying a rich vein of form recently, and has praised the FCV Academy for taking his game to the next level.
Whittington made his debut off the bench in November, but has pretty much been a regular in the starting line-up since, getting plenty of minutes – and goals – under his belt.
“My highlight of the season would be coming off the bench against Nuneaton in a 6-4 defeat,” Whittington reflected. “We may have lost, but I scored with my first touch of the game and then again with a 25-yard volley, so I was buzzing with that!
“It earned me a start going forward from there, so it's nice to see that the coaches will recognise and reward good performances. It shows everyone that if we perform, we’ll get a chance.
“I'm really pleased with the season – I've scored a lot more goals than I thought I would, and I wasn’t expecting to get this much game time, but I’ve worked hard and earned my position in the side.”
The hard work is indeed paying off, but Whittington couldn't do it alone. The coaching staff at Borderville have played their part in the young man's development, as have his Academy team-mates.
Despite not residing permanently at the Garden House, there is still a togetherness between Whittington, his fellow day students, and the full-time students at FCV.
That close relationship is one of the reasons why both he and his team-mates are constantly growing and improving, both as players and as people.
Interested? Find out more about Day Students at the FCV Academy
“We have lads all from all over the world here, and when you first come you have to adjust, and respect a lot of other peoples beliefs and cultures. There's a lot of mutual respect.
“We bond with the full-time students well, we still spend a lot of time together and there's a really good togetherness in this squad. We’ve made big strides as a team and individuals.
“I was used to Sunday football before coming to FCV, this has really taken it up a level and made me feel much more professional. The style is a lot different too, we really try and play good football. Grant and Ben are really good coaches and are making us better footballers.”
And now the finishing line of the 2016/17 season is in sight, and the Academy are still battling on three fronts. Third in both the National League Under-19 Alliance and the English Colleges League, and still competing in the Central Conference League Cup, it's time for one more big push.
“A few times this season we’ve had to come from behind, we’ve had to show courage and fight and we’ve done it. There's no selfishness, we have belief in each other’s ability and we know across the pitch we can do damage to opposition.
“We’ve got a really big finish to the season coming up. The whole squad is buzzing, we’ve all been involved in getting to where we are, and as a squad we’re hungry to achieve something this year.”