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WESTON teenage hot-shot Bradley Ash has been handed a ‘life-changing opportunity’ of a trial at Premier League-chasing Birmingham City, according to his manager.
The 19-year-old, who does not turn 20 until April, has been in sensational form this season for the Seagulls, netting nine times in 10 starts in the Vanarama Conference South, with 14 goals in all competitions.
Now he has the chance to impress Blues manager Gary Rowett as the West Midlands club eye the Premier League next season, and has completed the first of a two-week trial at their Wast Hills training ground.
Ash, a former Weston College student, has played a pivotal role to help Weston win their past four games – scoring six goals in the process, including a first career hat-trick.
He made his league debut for the Seagulls in August 2013, just four months after his 17th birthday, and struck his first of 15 league goals in December of that year.
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Manager Ryan Northmore, who helped shape Ash’s career in his former role as academy chief, told the Mercury he was delighted to see his striker receiving high-profile recognition.
Northmore said: “We’ve got to make sure it’s right for all three parties involved, but he needs to do the business on the training pitch, and keep scoring goals for us.
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“If he does that, the rest will take care of itself. It’s a life-changing opportunity. All the support they can offer to a player like Brad at his stage will give him all the tools to make himself a top professional.
“He’s in great spirits and is happy with what he’s done so far. We’ve agreed that he can go up for another week after this weekend is over, and it gives Birmingham the best chance to assess if its works for them. The all in Brad’s hands.”
The news is a glowing endorsement for the club’s academy, which has produced first-team regulars including captain Dayle Grubb and last Saturday’s match-winner Jake Mawford in recent years.
Northmore said: “It’s a great boost for the academy players at the club to see we are able to produce players of that calibre. We as a club are centred on player development and 10 of the 21 in our squad are from the academy.”
Ash will be in the squad for the visit of Wealdstone in the FA Trophy tomorrow (Saturday), with kick-off at 3pm. Adult tickets are £10.