DEPARTING academy manager Steve Guinan has urged Harriers to secure their gifted young players.

The club’s U18s saw their best ever run in the FA Youth Cup come to an end at the Third Round stage last Wednesday, when they were edged 2-1 by Blackpool at Aggborough.

A 311 strong crowd saw this exciting crop of rookies push the Championship side’s young guns all the way, with Harriers’ Connor Perry Holmes levelling after Henry Cameron had put Blackpool ahead.

But Sam Roscoe’s 53 minute winner ended a fantastic run for Kidderminster, who had defeated Burton, Stratford, Coleshill and Tipton to reach the Third Round.

“It is always disappointing to go out of the competition particularly when we’ve played so well,” said Guinan.

“We had watched Blackpool several times and we gave them more than just a fright.

“They have a winger who is dangerous at free-kicks and he put Blackpool ahead but at half-time we told the lads to keep up the good work.

“We scored but unfortunately Blackpool’s second goal came so quickly it knocked the stuffing out of us.

“To be honest, it has been a fantastic run, to reach the last 64 out of 456 teams is a great achievement.”

Guinan is set to finish his role at the academy on Friday, which is jointly ran by Harriers and Birmingham Metropolitan College, and start a new job as a regional coach for the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA).

He is convinced the club must sign up the likes of Luke Maxwell or risk losing them to higher ranked clubs.

Kennedy Digie was part of the first team squad on Monday which defeated Bradford Park Avenue and made a cameo appearance.

Guinan ends an eventful four years at Kidderminster. He joined as a veteran striker before retiring and making the transition to first team coach under Steve Burr and Andy Thorn as well as taking over the academy role from Jerry Gill.

He said: “The run has attracted the attention of clubs from higher up and I definitely think there are several players who can make the step up and hopefully will get a chance with the Kidderminster first team.

“I definitely believe I have left the academy in a better place than when I have joined two years ago.

“I have really enjoyed my time at the club but this is an exciting role I cannot turn down.

“I came as a player and as a forward you couldn’t help but relish playing under Steve Burr.

“It’s important the club and the college take their time and make sure they get the right person.”

Manager Gary Whild has revealed Digie had signed to play for the senior side last summer but his chances of appearing were hampered by illness, which he has now recovered from.

Whild said: “Kennedy already signed forms for us in the summer but unfortunately, he’s been affected by his cardiac problems.

“Thankfully he’s been given the all-clear and we’ll see more of him now.

“But it was a fantastic run to the third round and there are obviously lots of good players there.

“Youth academies are an important resource which clubs must use.”