A NEW football academy aimed at helping talented players to get signed up by professional clubs is to be launched in Sandbach.

Former Crewe Alex centre of excellence coach Bill Prendergast has formed the 4cornerscoaching Academy in partnership with Sandbach School.

He aims to help girls and boys, aged between four-12, to improve their skills to such a level that professional clubs will be interested.

Bill explained: 'We will take youngsters who have been recommended either by a school or a coach. The academy offers the opportunity for them to develop in a professional environment.

'At Sandbach School, we are able to meet the same criteria that professional clubs have to meet to have an academy. We have indoor facilities, as well as outdoor Astroturf and grass pitches. I hold the UEFA coaching A-Liecence which is required.

'The players will be assessed early on, and put into groups according to their ability. I will send the players in the highest category to a professional club's academy of their choice. The others will work with me and my staff to reach that level.'

'I have links with Crewe Alex, Stoke City, Port Vale, Manchester United, Manchester City and a host of other clubs.'

Bill's team of qualified coaches will focus on the 'four corners of learning' - social, technical, psychological and physical.

Bill has written to a host of South Cheshire primary and junior schools requesting recommendations and has appealed to local coaches to nominate their best players. The 4cornerscoaching Academy will not operate a competitive team.

The two-week assessment process begins on Tuesday, July 10, at Sandbach School, Crewe Road. Anyone wishing to nominate a player, or Level Two or above coaches interested in working with the academy, can contact Bill Prendergast on 07748 511178 or e-mail coach.bill@hotmail.co.uk

* Nantwich Town have confirmed their pre-season schedule. Homes games, at Kingsley Fields, are: Stoke City, Wednesday, July 18; Stafford Rangers, Saturday, July 21; FC United Saturday, July 28; Port Vale, Tuesday August 7. Away games are: Norton United, Tuesday, July 31; Winsford United Saturday, August 4. Kick-off times have yet to be released.

* Crewe FC U17s are looking for players. They begin pre-season training tonight at the Cumberland Stadium, 7.15-8.30pm. Contact Bob Jones on 01270 662688.