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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Sunday, January 7th 2018

Youngsters are a credit to this club - Tinnion

City icon Brian Tinnion has spoken of his delight after seeing a number of Academy products involved in the Emirates FA Cup.

Talented youngsters Opi Edwards and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans made their City debuts against Watford on Saturday, with Lloyd Kelly and Zak Vyner also returning to Lee Johnson's starting XI.

Freddie Hinds enjoyed another appearance as a second-half substitute, while 21-year-old striker Gustav Engvall also marked his return from loan as a replacement late on.

Loans manager and club ambassador Tinnion told BCTV: "I thought they were fantastic.

"I thought Connor showed good composure, kept the ball well and he was helped by good senior players in both halves. Connor can be very pleased with himself. It was a great opportunity for him.

"Opi caused Watford problems too. He's got pace and he's only 18-years-of-age so he'll get so much from that. We had a few academy players in the team today so it's very encouraging and great for them to get that opportunity.

"It shows them the levels that they need to get to because that's where we want to be as a football club. It was a great day for the club because it showed what we're about.

"the first team players needed a rest and have had a run of fantastic games and results, so for the young lads to get their chance today is what this football club is all about.

NO BETTER EXPERIENCE

"It was great experience for Lloyd Kelly and Zak Vyner as well. They have been in and out for a few games so again you can't get any better experience than playing in games like this.

"Watford are an established, good Premier League side who were stretched against us. They had to defend, work extremely hard and I thought all of the youngsters involved with the rest of the squad today were a credit to the football club.

ACADEMY GRADUATES ARE AN INSPIRATION

"We base the sole our our academy on the players you want go be as good as and play where they are. Academy graduates Joe Bryan and Bobby Reid are now established first-team players with a lot of games under their belts and that's where we want the Opis, Connors, Lloyds and Zaks and others. They are really close to that step and we're really pleased with how it's going.

"We're pleased with how the club is developing and how it allows young players to get to that next step.

"We've got a good academy, with good young players and we have a manager here who will play them which is great because otherwise you never know [how good they are] if they don't play in the first team. They are getting that exposure now, that chance and I'm sure there will be more."