ACADEMY duo Shaquille Whittingham and Desean Martin will be signing first team forms over the festive period.

Whittingham (on the right) and Martin (on the left), both 17, have been training with the first team squad over the past month and impressed Manager Ian Long in the process.

‘Dale’s Youth Recruitment Manager, Lloyd McCormack, is delighted that the pair who were due to play in an arranged friendly at Cosford last week have shown their potential.

“Shaq and Desean are two very, very talented individuals.

“I’m pleased that they will be signing first team forms in the coming days because it’s the next step in their development.

“This will give them the opportunity to train with the first team on a regular basis, as well as playing in our scholarship matches.

Whittingham spent four years with Walsall’s academy and McCormack says the striker has a big future ahead of him.

“Shaq is a good player.

“He’s a good finisher and works extremely hard.

“He needs to keep showing the same application as he has done since joining Tividale’s academy system.”

McCormack also believes Midfielder Martin will benefit from being in and around the first team environment.

“Desean is good on the ball.

“He needs to keep his head down and continue learning.

“Training with the likes of Sam Williams, David Bellis and Chris Field will only help his development as a player.”