Hereford have added Arsenal U23s to their pre-season build up with the match at Edgar Street set for Wednesday 13th July.

Arsenal could have as many as 45 young professionals on their books with most of those ineligible to play for the U18 squad, and so a lot of competition for places in their 16-man matchday squad looks likely.

Firstly, goalkeeper Karl Hein, who was on loan at Reading in the second half of last season, could be promoted to the first-team, although he may still play some games for the U23s.

Then there is a group of players whose time at the club could well be coming to an end.

Daniel Ballard’s eventful Arsenal career may be over if a suitable offer is made.

Jordi Osei-Tutu is a talented player but at the age of 23 he needs to be playing regularly.

Matt Smith has gained a lot of experience in League One and could depart permanently, while James Olayinka is another player who needs to leave in order to further his development.

Right-back Ryan Alebiosu has been linked with several Championship clubs, so he too could be on the move.

There are also potential loanees to consider. Harry Clarke is set to remain at Hibernian for another season.

George Lewis needs a temporary move as he looks to prove himself, while the same can be said for Ben Cottrell, with both players having been unfortunate with injuries.

There are plenty of others who are in need of a loan spell too, including: James Hillson, Tim Akinola, Zak Swanson, Tom Smith, Omar Rekik and Nikolaj Moller.

Miguel Azeez, Mika Biereth, Kido Taylor-Hart and Alex Kirk are also potential options to be loaned out. It is possible that Omari Hutchinson could also go on loan, although he may stay to be involved in the Europa League. Brooke Norton-Cuffy is in a similar situation but another loan spell may be more beneficial for him after his encouraging stint at Lincoln.

That would leave Arsenal with 24 young professionals. With some of those players, such as Charlie Patino and Marcelo Flores, set to be involved in the Europa League, that seems like a reasonable squad size for the U23s.

Henry Timi Davies will mainly be involved with the U18s, but the likes of Reuell Walters, Lino Sousa, Bradley Ibrahim and Amario Cozier-Duberry should be heavily involved with the U23s.

There will also be chances for some of the younger players such as Mathaeus Roberts and Kaleel Green to be involved with the U23s as well as some of the first-year scholars.

In the second half of the season, more players could be loaned out, such as Patino, Flores, Jack Henry-Francis, Salah-Eddine and Mazeed Ogungbo.

Possible U23s squad

Goalkeepers: Ejeheri, Graczyk

Defenders:

Walters*, Sweet (can also play in midfield or out wide)

Ogungbo, Awe, Foran, Monlouis

Sousa*, Jeffcott

Midfielders:

Salah-Eddine, Cirjan, Henry-Francis, Patino, Bandeira, Ibrahim*, Roberts*

Wingers:

Flores, Butler-Oyedeji, Ideho, Cozier-Duberry*, Sagoe Jr

Forwards:

Edwards, Vigar, Davies*, Green*

* – Still eligible for U18s

Italics – On scholarship contract

Arsenal Information courtesy of Jeorge Bird

By Editor

Lifelong Hereford supporter who has endured the rise and fall of the club through progressive generations. Sports journalist, broadcaster and commentator who will never forget his Edgar Street roots.

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