Mansfield Town boss Adam Murray has hailed the appointment of Mike Whitlow as U21s coach as a ‘great coup’ for the club.
Whitlow, a former Premier League defender with Leicester City and Bolton Wanderers, returns to the One Call Stadium following a spell as Centre of Excellence manager in 2009/10.
The UEFA A licensed coach then enjoyed a successful six-year-spell at the Pirelli Stadium.
Murray said: “I’ve known Mike for a long time, I worked with him at Burton, and you probably won’t get somebody better than Mike to do this job within our area.
“He ran Burton’s academy from nothing to being one of the best around and has a track record of getting people into the first team at Burton.
“This is a great coup for us and shows the progress which the football club is making.”
Whitlow made more than 400 appearances in a professional career which lasted almost 20 years.
Notable highlights from his playing days include winning the Coca Cola Cup with Leicester, Players’ Player of the Season with Bolton and being part of the Leeds United squad which won Division Two and Division One titles in the early 1990s.
A move to Sheffield United in 2003 lasted 18 months before he joined Notts County where he stayed for three years before he made the step into coaching with the Magpies youth and reserve teams.
Whitlow said: “This is a great opportunity for me. I want to be out ‘on the grass’ day in day out and this new role allows me to do that.
“I am already looking forward to meeting the players in the new U21 set up and helping them develop.
“The club has certainly progressed since I was last here and it was very promising meeting with the gaffer (Adam Murray), who clearly has a very pro-active attitude in developing young players, as was emphasised last season with the manager utilising some of the youngsters in his first team.
“It’s important to be at a club which wants to progress young players and I know that Mansfield Town are that type of club.”
The 48-year-old added: “I came to Brooksby College earlier today (Friday) for a look around (home of the club’s youth set up), where I met with John Dempster (youth team manager) and his staff who made me feel very welcome.
“They are dedicated to doing their utmost to help our young players develop to give them every possible chance of earning a professional deal.”
The U21s will compete in the Central League against Chesterfield, Grimsby, Hartlepool, Rotherham and York City this season.