SAUCHIE JUNIORS fans will have even more to shout about next season as the club takes another step forward by launching a new academy side.

The Reds have plugged one of the few gaps in the Beechwood Park set-up by forming an under 20s side as they hope to take advantage of the hidden talent in Clackmannanshire.

The age group, which has been in the works for a number of months, has been created after an agreement was reached to move the under 17s from amateurs Milton FC to Sauchie.

The exciting news comes less than a year after the Reds launched feeder team the Wee Sauchie, who play in the Junior leagues and work closely with Fraser Duncan's Premier Division outfit.

READ MORE: Sauchie will return to the juniors after launching feeder team

For Duncan, establishing an under 20s side takes Sauchie another step closer to unlocking the full potential of the Beechwood Park team.

He told Advertiser Sport: "We are delighted to get it done and it is an exciting time for the club.

"We have spoken about doing this for years with Noel (Dalli, former chairman now honorary president) and Karl (Rennie, chairman) and we have wanted to get that development at the age group.

"We need to give guys in our local area the chance to progress."

The year group from the Bannockburn-based side will move to Clacks and provide a platform for players from Sauchie's academy to progress to either the Wee Sauchie or Duncan's East of Scotland side.

Duncan added: "We can play two of our over-aged players in that group as well and that can give game time to those who might not be getting it.

"They are going to wear the same strips as us and have the same training gear and everything will be exactly the same.

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: Sauchie boss Fraser Duncan Sauchie boss Fraser Duncan

"The more people we have involved in the club then the bigger and the better it is going to get.

"This is a massive step in what we want to do."

Coaches James Gilfillan, Colin McGill, and Paul McKinlay will make the move to Beechwood with several players from Milton also agreeing to the switch.

The rest of the squad will be filled in the coming months by local talent with Duncan especially keen to offer a place to youngsters who have been released or moved on from Forth Valley teams in recent years.

Under 20s coach Gilfillan, 55, said: " We are really looking forward to it and we are hoping to give the boys a good opportunity to progress.

"Sauchie were looking to fill a gap they had, so I think it is a good fit. We've been part of Milton for around ten years and it was all on good terms.

"We've had some great support for them throughout the years and Colin had been there for the full ten years.

"Sauchie having that pathway into the Junior side and the East of Scotland team was a big appeal for us. Playing at a higher level than we would have with Milton gives the boys a chance to develop and carry on through it.

"Hopefully they can then get to the Senior ranks of football and that is what we were aiming for.

"We felt this was going to give us the best opportunity as we are then picking up a level and they are going to be going up against under 20s.

"It's going to be tough and the first year will be a tough year for them. It will be a great experience and a tough one for the boys.

"It's then in the second and third year where we will hopefully see them develop and progress. It's all about that."

As part of the continued overhaul of the Reds set-up, the team will train at Beechwood Park alongside Sauchie's two senior sides at least one night a week.

Players and backroom staff from Duncan's outfit will take turns in leading and getting involved in sessions with the under 20s in a bid to provide the youngsters with as much knowhow as possible.

In turn, the teenagers will be given the chance to train with Stuart McInnes' Junior team or the East of Scotland side as part of a one-club approach.

Gilfillan continued: "It will be hugely beneficial to be able to share those ideas between the teams.

"Ideally we are looking to mix with Fraser's team. That will help to develop our team and bring them on and then hopefully one or two of our boys will be able to make the step up and go and help that team out as and when required.

"It's giving the boys a great opportunity to learn from older players and also from different coaches at that level.

"The idea is to have us all training together and playing some games against each other and with each other. It gives everyone a chance to develop.

"From Sauchie's point of view, it saves them having to go and pull teams and boys from all over the place. Whereas if they have that conveyor belt and can pick up one or two boys, it's a big start for them.

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: Sauchie chairman Karl Rennie Sauchie chairman Karl Rennie

"We can hopefully focus in on the local side. We have six players in and around Alloa who have been playing with us and for them it's great to be associated with their main team locally.

"It gives them a sense of belonging and being part of their local team and culture.

"Sauchie's senior team will help to support us and they will then benefit by filling that gap.

"We hope that out of our squad two can make the step up to the East of Scotland team every year. But, there will be some who need the interim step.

"They can go on and play with the Juniors and get some more experience of playing with adults. We will also work very closely together as one Sauchie team.

"It's all one club and not three separate teams."

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Sauchie chairman Karl Rennie said: "We are glad we have managed to get it over the line. Everyone has jumped into it and are delighted to join the team.

"It is giving us another option to develop players and if we think they are good enough they will get their shot at the first team.

"The coaches are positive, the players are positive, the parents of the kids are positive. It's a good challenge for them as well and gives the a chance to see what they can produce."