Ipswich Town academy coach Duncan Wheeler outlines plans as Whitton United’s new manager

Duncan Wheeler

Duncan Wheeler

New Whitton United boss Duncan Wheeler says retaining the club’s status in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division this season is not essential.

The 24-year-old took over from Glenn Snell at the Premier Division’s bottom club at the start of the month, and has so far seen his team lose two home matches, against Fakenham (3-1) and FC Clacton (3-0) - his first official game in charge.

Wheeler will combine his role at the club with his continued development as a full-time academy coach at Ipswich Town and will hope to utilise one of his big strengths – working with youth players.

That’s not to say he has written off the Whitton first team’s season, but stressed the importance of putting a long-term plan in place to ensure a healthy future for the club.

Wheeler, who coaches the under-14s at the Blues’ academy, and also guided a Woodbridge Town side from under-12 to 16 level, said: “It’s a big challenge in the respect of where we are in the league table but the ambition is to try and work with and develop the youth section.

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“We already have a very decent youth section and we want to try and really develop that so that in the long-term we can produce players from within, while ultimately bringing back our under-18s team.

“We (first team) are in a difficult position and staying in the league will be a bit of a bonus, but it’s not essential that happens.”

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On his long-term plans, Wheeler added: “It’s not something that myself and the guys I will bring in to work with me will fix in six months and it will probably be three years before we get any success from it.

“We want to try and offer two strands. If any local kid wants to come and play for Whitton, they can.

“At the same time we also want to try and attract the best local talent and give them the opportunity to play in an elite league.”

On his current squad, Wheeler said: “I have met the players and I hope they buy into what we are trying to do and we will be giving it our best shot to try and stay up this season,” Wheeler explained.

“I will very much look to be fair, the skipper (Robbie Knott) has been first-class.

“At the same time, there are players at the club that have been around the non-league scene for a lot longer than I have, so I will be hoping to tap into their knowledge in different areas.”

Wheeler has a good pedigree as a coach and in 2011 became one of the youngest holders of the UEFA B coaching badge.

He also works with a host of established names at Ipswich.

“Obviously one of the coaches there is Steve Foley and he has been different class with his guidance since I started coaching at the club.

“But then there is Bryan (Klug) too and all the guys at Ipswich Town are brilliant to work with.”

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