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Under-21 side to return next season

AFC are pleased to announce that an under-21 youth side will be reintroduced next season.

Co-managed by club skipper Phil Buxton and current under-16 manager Wayne Clarke, the new Young Bulls team will be entered into the North Midlands Development Football League for the start of the 2020/21 season.

It will be the first time the Bulls field an under-21 side since 2017, with the under-16s currently the highest age group at the club.

Chairman Andy Saunders revealed his happiness to begin reintroducing higher age groups: "We've been talking about relaunching the under-21s for a while, it's a hugely important part of the grassroots game to have a proper development pathway from the very bottom all the way up to the first team," he said.

"Without a proper youth setup we're just a first team rather than a football club, and that's not what myself and my fellow directors envisaged when we founded AFC Mansfield almost eight years ago.

"But we're finally taking action and I'm really looking forward to seeing Bucko and Wayne take on this new challenge."

Despite still being in its youth, the Bulls academy has produced some fine talent in the past, most notably defender Jordan Annable who became a regular starter in the 2016/17 season.

Now considered a key player in Matt Chatfield's side, Annable joined the AFC setup at the age of 15 and made his debut for the first team in April 2016.

The defender has since made 169 appearances for the Bulls in all competitions, scoring on six occasions.


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