Cheltenham Town: Brothers set to seal Everton switch
A DEAL that will see two young Cheltenham Town players move to Everton is close to being finalised.
Striker Courtney Duffus and his younger brother Tyrone are set to join the Barclays Premier League club after successful trials.
The pair impressed Everton's Academy manager Alan Irvine while playing in a pre-season friendly against the Toffees.
Ex-Preston and Sheffield Wednesday boss Irvine invited them to the North West for a week and they took part in a 6-2 friendly win over Wednesday.
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A third Cheltenham youngster, Zack Kotwica, was also invited for a trial in Merseyside.
A compensation package has been agreed for the Duffus brothers and Robins chairman Paul Baker says that while the deal will not be in the same bracket as the six-figure sum Arsenal paid for 15-year-old Jamie Edge in 2009, it is a significant deal for club.
"It's nothing like the Jamie Edge deal, which I think was a one-off, especially with the changes to the rules that are coming in, but it's a good financial deal for the club," said Baker.
"I know the boys and their parents have been up to Everton to sort out the educational aspects of the move.
"They are two young lads, so it's important that things are all done properly and there has been a lot to get right.
"But it's all been sorted out and it just needs to be signed off by the Premier League now – the deal should be done in the next couple of weeks."
The incoming funds will be a welcome boost to Cheltenham's Centre of Excellence, which has been struggling for cash this season, but Baker said the club were in a far better position financially now.
"It used to be a case of them and us with the club and the Centre of Excellence and it was not regarded as part of the club," Baker said.
"But (director) John Murphy has taken it on now and really integrated it into the rest of the club.
"All money and losses are now covered by the club as a whole and any cash coming in will be spent wisely. Both the club and the youth system are in a good position now."
Cheltenham's Centre of Excellence runs teams from Under-nines to Under-18s and has developed players such as David Bird, Shane Duff, Andy Gallinagh and Theo Lewis, who have gone on to play for the Robins professionally.
As well as Edge, now at West Bromwich Albion, it has been raided for Ben Markall, who left Cheltenham to join Stoke City at the age of 13 two years go.
Cheltenham currently have left-back Luke Garbutt on loan from Everton.
Other links between the two clubs include Brett Angell, midfielder Scott Brown and Andy Gray.
Runcorn-born Brown started out as a trainee at Everton before joining Bristol City and then Cheltenham during the 2006/07 campaign. He is now at Blue Square Bet Premier high-fliers Fleetwood Town.
Forward Angell made his name at Cheltenham before spells with Derby, Stockport and Southend and he joined Everton in 1994.
Scotland international Gray finished his playing career at Cheltenham in 1990 having been at Everton between 1983 and 1985.