Frank Keita and Bradley Sach have become the latest young talents off the Boreham Wood production line after both penning new contracts.
Sach, now a third-year academy forward, was given a squad number for the first time in January 2017 following a string of dominating performances in Wood’s Under 18’s, 19’s and Reserve sides.
The striker, who has represented England at Futsal level, netted an unrivalled 60 goals last campaign and forced his way into Luke Garrard’s starting eleven, where he made his debut against Gateshead.
Sach was an instrumental part of the Under 18’s side who made the second-round proper of the FA Youth Cup in 2016, a run which included victory over Football League opponents Northampton Town.
“I am excited, I am just loving football at the moment,” Sach beamed. “I had a deal last year and was offered a new deal for this season, so I am really excited and I will be working hard in pre-season.
“The gaffer has brought some big names in, including Paul Benson, and Paul will be giving me some extra training on Thursdays, so I am really excited.
“Hopefully this year I can kick on a bit, play more minutes than last year and see what happens. Hopefully we can finish higher in the table and make a push for promotion, we have got a good squad from what I have seen so far, I am really excited.
“I just want to kick on now and get into the first team, get some game time, get my first goal for the club, and just see what I can do, I will push myself to the limit.”
Keita is another player who was brought through the PASE scheme, again, making the step up to the Elite side, before making his first team debut last season against Tranmere Rovers.
The combative midfielder was the second highest scorer for the reserves and was an instrumental part of the sides who reached the National College Cup Final and secured a second placed finish in the Reserves League.
Keita elated: “It is great, I am very happy, it is a new chapter and a new start, so hopefully I can kick on and progress into the first team.
“The club have helped my career a lot, I have learnt so much from different players, from all of the coaches, Luke Garrard, Cameron Mawer, they have all helped me a lot in the past three years.
“I want to get my chance and impress, I want to play for the first team, I don’t want to just be on the bench or only training with the first team, I want to play, so hopefully when I get my chance I can impress.”
Cameron Mawer, now the club’s first team coach, managed the pair throughout their time in the PASE academy, and said of them both: “Frank came into the PASE Scheme as a first year, he was a PASE boy and then he joined the elite side in his second year.
“He played fantastically in the youth cup when we lost to Barnet in the first round proper and then pushed on with the reserves.
“He is very athletic, he can really run, he’s very neat and tidy in possession, he has come on leaps and bounds and has been a fundamental part of the academy.
“Bradley, again, joined us as a PASE player and scored over 50 goals in his first year and then moved into the elite side in his second year. He was the leading goal scorer for the Under 18s, 19s and the reserves and he was actually the top goal scorer in the country at Youth National Alliance Level Under 19s.
“He is a powerhouse; a big, strong, old fashioned centre-forward; a real bruiser, who works really hard. Fundamentally, he just scores goals, last year, altogether, he surpassed 60 at Elite level, which is phenomenal.
“I am just delighted, I have seen their progression; they came through PASE, moved into the Elite side and then went up another level, it is fantastic to see. And now, to see them training with the first team and improving even more, it is just good to see.”
The duo linked up with the squad earlier in the week for their first pre-season as part of the first team, and manager Luke Garrard has been delighted with their impact, commenting:
“Both Lads deserve it, I think that they have been immense this year in regards to how they got on with the Under 19s and the reserves and in the international cups.
“Frank has been in-and-around the first team, he started against Tranmere and didn’t look out of place and I felt that he gave himself every opportunity to earn himself a better deal.
“I think that looking at this year, he already looks like an accomplished first-year pro, so I am looking at him as a first team player, not as a youngster, because he has earned his stripes.
“Bradley Sach is the top goal scorer at the club, he has a real habit of scoring goals and he has done phenomenal work with Cameron in terms of his progression through the academy.
“He obviously played at Chester and Gateshead at the end of the year, but he has a real knack of scoring goals and that is something that you cannot coach at any level.
“Yes, he needs to improve on certain aspects of his game, but, he is hungry, he is built like a man and I think that he has every chance of progressing at this football club.”