WEYMOUTH have scrapped their reserve side for next season.

Owner Martyn Harrison today said the club will axe their formal second string – instead working more closely with their youth structure.

The Terras, who turn full-time from July 4, will continue to run their academy and a host of junior sides.

Weymouth’s reserves only played occasional friendlies last season after a bid to join the Pontins Combination Wales and West division was rejected.

Harrison said: “We won’t have a reserve side next season and a big factor in making that decision was us turning full-time over the summer.

“We’re planning to have a squad of about 19 or so first time players who will be training day in and day out.

“In turn, we’ll also have our academy side and youth set up and we don’t feel playing friendlies will be as good for the players as daily training.

“In the academy games, you are allowed to play a couple of over age players which will mean if we have a player returning to fitness who needs to a game, we can field him in one of those matches.

“To be honest, running a reserve team next season is an expense the club does not need at the moment.

“This time last year the plan was to formally join the Pontins Combination so we would be playing competitive games against the likes of reserve teams from Plymouth, Cardiff, Bristol City and Yeovil.

“Unfortunately we were not accepted so we ended up playing friendlies which although a decent standard, were not what we initially planned.

“Should we need to organise any friendlies over the course of season we can still arrange them but at least now they can be at our convenience.”

Harrison added that Weymouth would to continue to play in the Sammy McGowan Cup – a competition they won last term.

And the move is being backed by boss Garry Hill who says the club’s promising youngsters will benefit from closer involvement with the first team

He said: “I want to reward our promising academy players by having them train with the first team on a daily basis and doing that will improve them as players.

“I started to do that towards the end of the last season with Ross Carmichael and Chris Skinner and I certainly see more youngsters following suit.

“In effect, our under-19’s academy side will become our reserve side and working closer with the youngsters will be better for the long term future of the football club.”

Meanwhile, Weymouth have confirmed one friendly in their pre-season programme.

Coca-Cola League One outfit Brentford visit the Wessex Stadium on Tuesday July 26.

The Terras are also finalising details of a two-game trip to Ireland between July 10 and July 14.

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