Crystal Palace's famed academyhas been dealt a major blow today after Under-18 manager Ken Gillard looks set to leave the Eagles and join Arsenal, according tolocal reports.
Gillard, 44, has spent over fouryears at Selhurst Park, guiding the Under-18 side to seven wins in his first 11 games in charge.
He went on to take his side to a 3rd place finish in his first full season in charge of the Under-18's, giving opportunitiesto bright young talents likeLuke Dreher,Joseph Hungbo andKian Flanagan.
Gillard continued Palace's rich tradition of developing young players, which has seen the likes ofNathaniel Clyne, Wilfried Zaha,Ben Watson, Wayne Routledge, Tom Soares and Victor Moses allcome through the ranks in south-east London.
Speaking in 2011, Crystal Palace chairman told theEvening Standardhow important the academy is to the club.
"Our academy is absolutely essential to us," said Parish. "For one thing, it helps us establish real deep roots in the community in which we play."
The former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international will now join Arsenal as an assistant to Under-18 bossKwame Ampadu.
Ken Gillard, #cpfc u18 manager set to join Arsenal's academy set up
It will not only come asa hugeblow to the senior squad, but also to the Under-18 side, who have begun this season in fine form by recording five wins in their opening 10 games, including a 7-0 thumping of Barnsley - that particular gamesaw talented young striker Francis Baptiste net a stunning five goals, promptinginterest from the likes ofTottenham Hotspur.