Yoker co-boss Peter McKenna has hailed the introduction of a development side as one of the club’s biggest signings of the summer.

The ‘Yoker Academy’ was launched in June, with the aim of creating a player pathway for promising youngsters right through the age groups at the club, all the way to senior football with the first team.

The Whe Ho’s Under-20 side have joined the Lowland Development League for their first season playing competitive football.

But the under-20s aren’t the end of the story - and McKenna has told the Post how he and co-boss Tommy Montgomery have long wanted to see a full youth set up in place at the club.

He said: “When we took the job, we wanted to try and get Yoker a development squad. Not just the 20s, but all the way down, and we’ve got four boys’ club teams now.

“We wanted to have that development right through, because a place like Yoker needs boys’ club football.

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“It’s a great thing for Yoker and that’s probably one of the biggest signings for us.”

McKenna also hopes that he can run with a smaller senior squad in 2020-21 as he now has the development squad to rely on should he fall short of players.

He added: “You don’t really need to carry a squad of 25 now, you can go with 18 maybe and you’ve got the development underneath where you can bring boys through.

“And if there’s boys with us who are maybe not getting a game, or coming back from injury, then they can go and play on a Friday as well so they’re still getting games under their belt.

“The Friday night football suits a lot of guys and I think a lot of boys prefer it as well.

“It gives us the chance to go and watch them on a Friday night and if there are boys doing well then you can bring them into the first-team squad on a Saturday.”