A new specialist goalkeeping academy has recently opened at Ledbury, aimed to coach aspiring keepers, boys and girls from under 7s to under 16s.

The centre is run by goalkeeping coach Allan Hawkins who has coached and scouted at various professional clubs including Birmingham City, Aston Villa, Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion.

"The facility at Ledbury Town FC is ideally situated for young goalkeepers from Malvern, Ledbury and the surrounding area," Hawkins explained

"I've been fortunate to have had great success from local youngsters over the years who have gone on to become professional players.

To date seven boys have progressed to sign professional contracts with five winning international honours and three girls are currently with Aston Villa with Mary McAteer making her first team debut last week.

Hawkins was quick to add that more girl goalkeepers would be warmly welcomed.

He continued; "since opening Ledbury we have been visited by past students and this evening we welcomed back Ronnie Hollingshead from West Bromwich Albion who has also won Welsh international honours at under 19 level.

Ronnie was recommended to West Bromwich Albion as a 10 year old by Hawkins and and since played through the academy structure to winning a scholarship which, all being well will lead to a professional contract.

Just 17 years of age, West Bromwich Albion hold Hollingshead in high regard as he is already playing for the under 23s.

"Goalkeeping is like a sport within a sport, it’s a technical position with quick decision making needed as scenarios unfold then deciding further which technique to use to deal with that situation," Hawkins added.

"The philosophy we have is firmly on having fun while we train as that helps the information stick as we work through the syllabus."

To join in on the action, the sessions are aimed at those with experience as well as beginners, contact Allan Hawkins at allanhawkins@hotmail.com