18-year-old Josh Carmichael made his third consecutive appearance for the first team – something which youth team manager Ross Embleton described as the academy’s 'ultimate aim'.
“I think it is what we do the job for,” the Embleton told afcb.co.uk. “The club makes a big commitment to the youth development department here, so ultimately the target for us has got to be getting the players into the first team.
“In pre-season the circumstances dictated that quite a few of the boys got exposure to playing for the first team in some of their friendlies.
“Josh Wakefield has been part of the first team plans and then, obviously, the big step for us this year was that soon after his injury Josh Carmichael got the opportunity to be part of the first team plans.”
Carmichael has come through the ranks at the Goldsands Stadium, and last season saw him live every young footballer’s dream, as he made his debut for the first team away at Exeter as an early substitute.
This season though he has taken it a step further, having made three consecutive senior appearances – and Embleton was keen to pay tribute to the midfielder’s character.
“He's a level headed lad. He seems to know where he wants to get to and what he wants from it all, and I think from that side of it he handles the pressure well.
“It’s nice that a boy like that kicks on and the rest of the boys can see how he takes it – he doesn’t get too carried away, he still sees himself in and around the youth team, and he is sitting in the classroom this afternoon getting his education so he handles all of that really, really well."
Whilst the Cherries may not have been getting the results on the field that they would have liked, Embleton believes that this may in-fact aid Carmichael in keeping his place in the team.
“I have only seen one of his performances against Walsall but he came on and took it by the scruff of the neck and played without fear.
“He played without the pressure some of the pros are playing with because he is almost in a no lose situation – feeling his way into a career but he can still go in and make an impression.
“He has the innocence that you want him to keep for the rest of his career. You don’t want him to lose his way or get caught up in the hype, you want him to go out there and play free.”
And Carmichael’s progression has not only had a positive effect on the first team, but his progress has acted as a catalyst for the progression of other members of the youth team.
“What it does is it raises the expectation. It’s a positive thing because the boys have got something to aspire to.
“Josh finished training this morning, and we were playing over the back by the training pitches, and he came over and he stood and watched because they are his mates. So the boys have got that familiarity with seeing someone progress quickly into the first team so it has given them that ‘it can happen’ type view.
“That is ultimately the target – the first team is where you want to be - and at least one of our players has got there this season already.”
You can see the latest crop of young Cherries stars on Saturday as Ross Embleton's youth team take on Hereford United in the Alliance Merit Cup at Chapel Gate. Kick off is 11.00 am and all support is welcome.