Helston Athletic will not run their under-18s team next season and will replace their third adult side with a new development team.

The team will compete in the Combination League – which lies two divisions below the first team and one below the reserve team – in the 2020/21 season and will aim to continue the development of the club’s young players and offer them regular senior football.

Richie Full retains his role as manager of the Combination League side and will be assisted by Aaron Collick.

First-team coach and former Helston under-18s co-manager Martyn Daughtery will oversee the new youth structure as part of his new role as Head of Recruitment at Kellaway Park.

The new development side will be made up of several of last season’s under-18s side that reached the FA Youth Cup first round proper for the first time in the club's history.

As a result, there will be no under-18s team this season, with the club pulling the team from both the Kernow Youth League and the FA Youth Cup, although they intend to restore the team to both competitions in a year.

The players that would have progressed to the under-18s this season will have the opportunity to make the jump to the development squad and fight for their place alongside the other older players.

Those from last season’s under-18s team will also be part of a new under-21s team, which will be managed by former under-18s co-managers Daughtery and Stu Giles, who have been persuaded to stay on after initially planning to step down.

Centre-back Josh Storey will captain the new team and defender/midfielder Harrison Jewell will be vice-captain.

This team will play midweek friendly matches, with the club hoping to arrange two friendlies per month against other similar age-group teams, regional representative sides and adult first teams.

The club has lined up the team's first-ever game, which will be against St Austell’s first team on Friday, August 14, while they are also hoping to take on a North West Counties representative under-21 side in the future.

First-team manager Steve Massey has been a driving force behind the restructure, and he feels that this approach is going to be more common in both the local and professional game in the years to come.

“There are more pro clubs that are going to be putting an emphasis on the under-21s rather than the under-18s,” he said.

“It’s a better and bigger breeding area and development for the players, and certainly the response it’s had from our players [has been positive] and even players that are not connected with our team and want to come and play with our under-21s.

“It is without a doubt, I feel, the best way forward for our football club right at this moment in time.”

He added: “I really think that under-21 [football], particularly here in Cornwall, is the way forward. It’s going to be hard for us because the first teams are going to play in so many games anyway, but in the next two or three seasons I would like to think that there is a real, real strong contingent of under-21 sides [in the county].”

Massey was quick to point out that a clear pathway remains for young players to progress through the ranks at Kellaway Park despite the removal of the under-18s team.

He also drew a comparison with the Blues’ women’s team, who have reformed for the 2020/21 season and rejoined the Cornwall Women's League after a one-year hiatus.

“There’s still a pathway through from our under-15s all the way through,” he said. “There’s a bigger step now from under-16s and into senior football, but that’s going to be managed with the exciting prospect of the football they’re going to be able to play on a Saturday now.”