The club’s policy of continuing to integrate younger players with the senior professionals as much as possible saw Jamie Armstrong, Charlie Barnes, Charlie Birch, Liam Lightfoot and Tom Wilson join Taylor Charters (already with nine appearances under his belt) and Josh Dixon on pro deals, with development of this crop of potential young talent very much the aim.
Chris Beech said: “I’m excited to see what will happen with Josh because I’ve heard nothing but good things. He’s had a tough few years, so we must be mindful that we’ll need to be patient with him, but hopefully that’s all behind him now and he’ll start pushing towards the levels we think he can get to.
“Taylor has been around the first team and he’s been involved in those nine games, and I know how determined he is to add to that.
“We’re looking for big strides out of the other young players in terms of being involved, but they all know it’s up to them to take the opportunity they’ve been given. Nobody can do it for them. We can help and guide, but they have to be the ones to produce it consistently, and to a high standard.
“I see this group as our development players but that doesn’t change the fact that if you’re good enough and you show the right traits then you will be involved. Having said that, they are young lads and we do need to work with them to make sure the good habits come through, and they can then hopefully push on to enjoy good careers.”
And on the players leaving the club, he commented: “I’ve been in this position myself and it is very hard and tough, whether you’re a young lad or a more senior professional, and we are also in what is an economically challenging time.
“I can only thank them for their efforts and endeavours. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer in when you announce your released or retained news in the current circumstances, other than try to do right by the individuals, because they do have futures to think about.
“From my perspective they leave the building at the end of their contracts with good wishes and any support from me they need, particularly if it helps with them continuing to play football in the future.
“One thing I will say is that Adam Collin, Kelvin Etuhu and Mike Jones have been with this club for a long time and have been great servants through that.
“This situation currently means they might not get to say their farewells in person to the supporters, but I hope the opportunity to do that does come along for them at some point in the future, because they deserve that.”