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MANAGER: It's the start of a journey

Paul Simpson on Saturday's younger players

9 May 2022

Club News

MANAGER: It's the start of a journey

Paul Simpson on Saturday's younger players

9 May 2022

The last game of the season was another success story for the academy, with Jack Ellis once again a starter (and man of the match in the eyes of most who saw the game) and fellow second-year Max Kilsby promoted to the bench.

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First-year scholar Ryan Carr was also amongst the substitutes, with boss Paul Simpson pleased with all of his young charges.

“Jack was excellent,” he said. “The decision we’ve got to make, because there’s going to be a lot of changes made, is that we’ve got Joel who will come back hopefully in October, if everything goes to plan, and we need something to help us along to that point.

“I think Jack’s been excellent in both games. He looks so calm, and he made some brilliant tackles, a couple of good recoveries. He’s a level-headed fella, and I’m really pleased for him.

“I think his family were at the game, and I’m pleased for them. They’ve gone through all the rubbishy bits to get him to this point, so it’s excellent.

“The two other lads were on the bench because Mellor and McDonald were both ill this week, so they missed out.

“Those two young lads deserve that opportunity. I’d much rather do that than go with five subs on the bench.

“What I do hope is that we’re not having to rely on first-year pros next year. I want a group of players who I consider starters, not finishers.

“Not lads who are just going to make up the numbers, so when we start the season at the end of July we hit the ground running.”

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As to the level of performances he’s seen from Ellis, he added: “I’m always wary of saying it’s surprising because it sounds like I’m being disrespectful and that I didn’t think he was a decent player.

“I knew he was a decent player because I wouldn’t have given him the chance if I didn’t think it. He’s trained really well with us and he’s been very calm and assured, when I’ve seen him.

“I’ve only seen him in a couple of games but he’s done well in those, so it’s probably wrong to say I’m surprised, but I am so pleased with the way he's gone.

“When you put a young player in to the team you wonder whether they’re going be out of place, and he certainly wasn’t. He’s held his own.

“What he has to do now is make sure he comes back in June, he learns from these two games, grabs that opportunity and goes and makes that position his own.”

And on the latest successful graduate, Max Kilsby, he said: “He’s done well when I’ve seen him, and I’ve taken a view off Mark Birch - Birchy likes him.

“He’s left-sided, which are hard to find, he can play left wing-back, left centre-back, possibly even go into midfield, so he gives us a few options.

“This is the start of the journey for him. Getting a scholarship’s one, the next is getting a pro contract, and then that’s when the work really starts because he’s now in the big game and he’s now got to go and show us he deserves to be part of our first-team group.

“We’ve had five out of this year with two keepers, Sam, Jack and Max. That’s quite a lot to take out of a one-year group, so let’s hope we’ve made the right decision.

“We’ll have a look at them over this year, see how they develop, whether they’re involved with us or we look to get them out on loan remains to be seen, but they’ll star pre-season and it’s up to them to show they deserve to be involved in it, as opposed to older pros.”

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