ACCRINGTON Stanley are bidding to secure new funding for their youth system after the Reds’ young players continued their recent progress by helping the club reach the Lancashire Senior Cup final.

Ryan Hopper, Marcus Carver and Adam Stockdale have all been offered their first professional deals in recent weeks and the trio were part of the Stanley side that beat Wigan Athletic 9-8 on penalties at the Crown Ground on Tuesday to set up a final against Blackpool or Manchester United.

Senior players such as Bryan Hughes, Toto Nsiala and Kurtis Guthrie were also involved, with the latter scoring in a 1-1 draw – although Will Hatfield was forced off with an ankle injury.

Hopper has made three first-team appearances recently and Stanley are now hoping to obtain further funding for their youth system by achieving Academy 3 status under the newly introduced Elite Player Performance Plan, which affects all clubs.

The Reds need to show they have the relevant structures in place and also find £105,000 themselves in order to be eligible to receive £210,000 from the Football League, with the club hoping sponsorship initiatives will help them to raise the money.

With Academy 3 status and the Football League funding, Stanley would hope to introduce improved training facilities, an increased number of coaches and the introduction of a professional development squad for under 21s.