David Weir’s decision to name the likes of Jake Eyre, Conor Dimaio and Otis Khan in Sheffield United’s senior squad has given the club’s young players even greater incentive to impress, academy manager Nick Cox has claimed.
The trio are among several home-grown players called-up by Weir since taking charge at Bramall Lane two months ago with Eyre featuring on the bench during the recent League One fixture with Colchester.
Khan, who scored both goals as United’s under-18’s defeated their counterparts from Sheffield Wednesday last weekend, and Dimaio both enjoyed run-outs during pre-season.
Cox told The Star: “The lads can see that the opportunities are there if they perform well. Opportunities come in many different guises - a game with the first team, a training session with them or even travelling to an away match - but they’re encouraged by it.
“They can see the rewards of hard work, focus and performance. It’s good that there is a reward there for them, however it comes.”
Khan scored United’s opener at Middlewood Road from the penalty spot after MJ Kedman had been fouled before completing his brace with a close-range header.
“It was a well deserved victory,” Travis Binnion, United’s under-18’s coach, said. “We enjoyed lots of possession, were patient on the ball and scored two well worked goals.
“We saw two very different styles of play on show. Our lads showed great maturity.
“Wednesday offered a real physicality, but we had worked hard in training to combat their threat and the lads executed the gameplan brilliantly.”
United, who opened their Professional Development Leaue Two North campaign by drawing 2-2 with Leeds, return to action when Crewe Alexandra visit the Redtooth Academy on Saturday.