Martin revels in increased responsibility at the Norwich City academy

Academy chief Ricky Martin says he welcomes the hands-on challenge he has been given following manager Peter Grant's revamping of the Norwich City academy structure.

Academy chief Ricky Martin says he welcomes the hands-on challenge he has been given following manager Peter Grant's revamping of the Norwich City academy structure.

Martin will be responsible for continuing the promotion of youngsters into first team players when he combines his role of academy manager with that of youth-team coach - a job which was carried out by Dave Williams prior to his retirement at the end of last season.

Martin will now work with City's rising stars on a daily basis at the club's Colney training centre and take charge of all under-18 matches - and Grant will be looking for more players like Chris Martin and Kris Renton, who made the breakthrough into the first team squad last season.

"I'm confident there are more young players to come through," said Martin. "I will still be seeing a few of the lads who were around the first-team squad last season, like Kris and Damon Lathrope, who trained with the senior squad quite a bit. They have had a little bit of a taste and will be keen to step up."

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Darren Bloodworth, the former King's Lynn and Wisbech manager will be his assistant, in addition to his role as the academy's education officer. Much of Martin's paperwork will be taken over by Andrew Blofield, who has left his job as assistant club secretary and becomes academy operations manager.

"On a personal level it's an exciting challenge to have a more direct involvement with the players on the pitch and this is an aspect of the role I am thoroughly looking forward to," said Martin, who has been in charge of the academy since Sammy Morgan's departure in 2004.

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"The successes we have enjoyed this year have made me more determined to ensure that continuity remains within the academy, particularly the older sector of the set-up where the players have to make the transition from youth team football to first team.

"It's vital we continue the hard work and we carry on from where we left off last season and strive to maintain the high standards we have set.

"I would like to take this opportunity to once again recognise the excellent work Dave Williams put in during his time here in terms of helping the players to develop their game and assisting me with the strategic and management side of the academy."

Grant said the temptation to bring in an outsider was easy to resist.

"I'm delighted with the new structure in the academy," he said. "I think it's a real plus to bring good, talented people through and keep them on board.

"Sure, we could have gone and looked for someone from outside, but Ricky and the academy have enjoyed a successful year and he is certainly the right man to continue the good work that Dave put in with the youngsters.

"I'm pleased to see Darren lending a hand out there as well - he is well known and respected by the young scholars coming through the ranks thanks to his educational work and he's an excellent coach."

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