Grimsby Town’s Head of Youth Robbie Stockdale believes that the youth graduates in the Mariners first-team can inspire his current group of Apprentices.
Andi Thanoj, Bradley Wood and Dayle Southwell have all stepped up from the youth-team in recent years and all three played for the Club’s first-team in Friday’s draw with Hull City.
And Stockdale is hoping that some of his new recruits make the same progression over the next 12 months.
“The fact that our lads can see Andi, Bradley and Dayle playing in the first team and see that pathway from the youth team to the first team squad is massively important,” Stockdale told www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk
“Our young lads are in and around that every day. They see that progression and it is inspiring for them.”
“The Managers are great because they will call up the players and give them the chance to train with the first team.”
“Every player has potential. For every Dayle, Andi and Bradley that you get, there will be other players that might not get a pro deal at our Club that go on to do well elsewhere such as Danny North.”
“But it’s about giving kids a chance to make it at their local Club.”
“Having the Reserve side back this year is a big boost for our lads. It will mean that they can test themselves quality opposition on a regular basis and we can see how they cope with that.”
“We’ll see where we can get them – we’re not getting carried away but there are promising signs.”
“There’s bags of potential in this group but we all know that potential will only get you so far in the game.”
“At some point they need to realise that potential and show that you can do it at the top level. We’ve got a few players in this squad that will get close to it I’m sure.”
Stockdale’s youngsters were in action over the weekend edging a 1-0 win from a tough fixture at a North East Counties Premier League side Winterton.
While pre-season results might not be the barometer that Stockdale’s side is judged on this year, he was satisfied to record a win nevertheless.
“We were very pleased. Winterton are a good side and it’s usually a first-team fixture, but with the game against Hull the night before, we took it on,” he continued.
“We knew it would be a hard game and so the fact that they stood up to the physical aspect of it was very pleasing.”
“Bear in mind that we’ve had lads that have just turned 16 who were playing against ex-pros and players that have played at this level for a long time.”
“They make the wrong decisions some of the time, but so do professional players at the very highest level. At the minute, they’re moving in the right direction.”
“Winterton play at a decent standard and we more than held our own and played some really good football. There are still things to work on, so we’re not getting carried away at all.”
“We’re four weeks into pre-season and at the minute, everything is great. Everyone is doing what we’re asking of them and they’re all eager to learn.”
“There will be ups and downs throughout their time with us. But we know that we’ve got some good players who definitely have the potential to progress.”