The new JW9 Football Academy began its weekly sessions at Parkside GGI Academy this week, although they had to adapt to the increasingly autumnal conditions.

The academy is run by former Barrow AFC striker Jason Walker, who works at Parkside, and the plan was for the 60-odd kids who signed up for the first batch of sessions to train on the school’s playing field.

However, awful weather on Monday meant they were moved into its hall, meaning less space for those involved, which if anything was an extra test of their budding skills.

It’s certainly a hectic schedule for Walker, who runs sessions for four age groups, starting with under-5s at 4:15pm, running through to the under-11s at 7:15pm. The under-9s, with 20 children, is the busiest of the groups.

Walker said: “We’re going to be teaching them all aspects of football, especially with the younger ones because you’ve got to get them comfortable with the ball at their feet first.

“That’s the main aim with the younger ones, but the older ones are already comfortable with the ball at their feet and it’s about developing their awareness of other players around them, their passing, their shooting, their dribbling, every aspect of football.

“I think you’ll see them improve over the next six weeks and longer because this is not just a six-week thing, this will go on for as long as possible.”

Walker, who plays for Lancaster City these days, still has strong ties with the Bluebirds, as he has created links with the club’s Performance Centre with his new academy.

Walker said: “There’s potentially some very good footballers here and we’re trying to develop them a little bit further so we can take it into the matches that we’re going to play.

“We’ve been partnered with the Performance Centre and if we push a few of these kids into that, then that’s my job done, that would be a great achievement.”