SWINDON Town fans have been urged not to jump on the backs of the club’s scholars as and when they get their first-team breaks in 2014/15, with manager Mark Cooper insisting that with the support they need this crop of players could go on to be future stars.
Cooper has been hugely impressed by the likes of Will Randall and Lee Marshall in pre-season and, having called the duo into his senior squad for the friendly fixtures at Petersfield and Eastleigh, intends to draft the two attacking midfielders into first-team training on a regular basis during the coming campaign.
However, in order for the club to maximise the potential of the starlets, the Swindon boss is asking supporters to give the second-year scholars the chance they need to settle into professional football - even though they’ve yet to obtain professional status just yet.
He said: “I think everyone knows I have to take a big interest in the young players because that’s what we’re trying to do - we’re trying to bring young players through into the first team and hopefully send them on to big futures.
“I watch a lot of the youth teams, all the way up, and I’ve been aware of Will since I came to the football club. Him, Lee Marshall - there’s a few others that know they’re going to get an opportunity. I think they know there’s a realistic pathway from the academy into the first team.
“That might not have been the case before. People have to be patient with them because it’s easy to get on the back of a young player. If they’re patient with them they could have some future stars on their hands.”
Cooper’s own son, Charlie, is in the youth system at Birmingham City, and the Robins manager draws on the experiences of coaxing a child to the top when dealing with his young charges at the County Ground.
“I find it easy because I’ve got a son who’s in an academy system, so I just try to deal with or speak to them as I would my own boy. I find that bit quite easy and you have to be patient with them and give them a lot of time,” he said.
“I think it’s important they come into our group and train and play at the tempo we play at on a regular basis.
“You need to pull them in, put them out, make sure they get enough rest. It may be the case that they train with us and play for the youth team on a Saturday, or they may be on the bench for us.
“You look at it at the moment and there’s every chance they may feature for us.”