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SWINDON TOWN: MacDonald has faith in youngsters
MANAGER Kevin MacDonald has no concerns over throwing untried youth team players into the heat of a League One promotion battle if his threadbare squad needs reinforcements.
The Town boss handed midfielder Alex Ferguson and striker Connor Waldon spots on the bench for Tuesday night’s 2-0 win at Yeovil having had the pair in the matchday squad in recent weeks, while fellow youth teamers Aaron Ferris and Jake Simpson also travelled to Somerset.
With the transfer embargo hanging over Town currently stopping MacDonald from adding to his squad the former Aston Villa coach is happy to turn to youth, and would have no concerns over bringing them off the bench if it was required.
“We took four to Yeovil with Aaron Ferris and Jake Simpson travelling as well, and I have known through the years that Swindon have a good youth set-up, and while I was at Aston Villa there were people who knew them very well,” he said.
“We have had a look at them, and we don’t have anyone else which means we need to get them to play, and if it means putting them on the pitch then that is what we will do.
“I wouldn’t have any worries in doing that, and the big thing is that the four of them, and others, have the keenness to do well for Swindon Town.
“I don’t know what the previous manager’s ideas were, but I know my idea is that if there is nobody else and no senior players available you have to stick someone else in, because you never know you might find a little gem.”
MacDonald has sensed the second-year scholars’ desire to win themselves permanent deals at the County Ground, and has also been impressed with the way his first-team squad have welcomed the youngsters.
“There is an eagerness without a doubt, but a lot of the first-team boys are playing for contracts as well, and the big thing for me is that the youngsters have been integrated by the seniors very easily,” he said.
“They have trained with us a bit over the last few weeks and we have had a little bit of a look, and the senior guys wrap the ball into them to test their touch and see they’re good enough, and they appreciate and understand why we have brought them back.”
One scholar who is unlikely to have the chance to impress the new manager between now and the end of the season is defender Aaron Oakley, who suffered a stress fracture in his foot playing against a combined services team at St George’s Park earlier this month.
MacDonald insisted the injury would not hinder the teenager’s ability to win a professional deal, and suggested contract talks may have to take a back seat as he plots Town’s path to promotion.
“Aaron trained with us and then got a stress fracture, but maybe talking about contracts is a little bit premature at the moment and we have to see where we are,” he said.
“All of the kids have impressed me, and that is the important thing for me at the moment.”