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Watford give professional contracts to three more scholars
6:03pm Friday 13th April 2012 in Watford FC Academy
Watford have handed three more professional contracts to a trio of second-year scholars.
Sean Murray, Tommie Hoban and Jack Bonham already had pro deals and the Hornets this afternoon confirmed left back Aaron Tumwa, who can also play centre half, centre midfielder Stephan Hamilton-Forbes and versatile midfielder Connor Smith have also been given contracts.
Watford's head of academy Nick Cox told the club’s website: "I think there was a mixture of relief and surprise among the three players who have been offered professional terms.
"The final piece of the decision-making jigsaw for the coaching staff for Stephan and Aaron was to see the lads compete in senior football.
"Both of them did that, for differing timescales, at Harrow Borough. Aaron is a left-back who has done well at centre-half for most of the season, while Stephan is a central midfielder who has made good strides as part of the development group matches of late."
Smith, who finished runner-up on Sky TV’s Football’s Next Star, has impressed on loan at Wealdstone this season.
"He's showed another side to his game," Cox added. "He showed he can cope with those extra demands."
The second-year scholars who missed out on professional contracts were winger Michael Kalu, striker Dereece Gardner, full back Brandon Horner and centre back Chimdi Akubuine.
Cox said: "What we were able to say to all four of these lads is that they could definitely look themselves in the mirror and say they did everything they could have done to earn a professional contract here at Watford.
"Their attitude, application and professionalism - like the others - has been a credit throughout.
"It's now about finishing the season strongly and - if they want it - using our help and expertise to find a football future away from Watford.
"As ever, we will do all we can to ensure the development of these young men continues fully while they are still within our care."
"Although it can't be good news for all the players, the way they conducted themselves in front of a panel, which included the first-team manager, was a credit to each individual," Cox added.
"Our boys are not only good football players, they are decent lads as well. So it was no surprise to me - although I was proud to witness it - when all of them, to a man, looked the group of staff in the eye and said thanks for their time here.
"There was a huge amount of dignity on show from all concerned, and that was quite a humbling feeling as someone responsible for the development of all the young players in our care."
Second year scholar Matt Bevans, who is a defender, has had his scholarship extended by a few months due to the serious injury he suffered last year.