Fleetwood Town's youngsters need to choose the right path
Fleetwood Town's head of player pathways, Stuart Murdoch, wants the club's younger players to start following in the footsteps of some of the club's established players '“ past and present.
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Town have had the knack of finding players in non-league, signing them and then providing them with an opportunity to progress.
Jamie Vardy’s career since joining Town from Halifax has taken him to a Premier League title and England caps with Leicester City.
More recently, Ash Hunter arrived from Ilkeston and finished the 2017/18 season as one of the first names on John Sheridan’s teamsheet and with the club’s young player of the year award.
Sheridan’s arrival was also key to Jack Sowerby’s renaissance as the former Squires Gate man enjoyed nine straight starts as Town secured survival and a 14th-placed League One finish.
Both Hunter and Sowerby have just penned contract extensions and it is their progress from non-league to the development squad and the first team that Murdoch wants other players to follow, particularly Ashley Nadesan.
He came from Combined Counties League side Horley Town but was unable to make the breakthrough under Uwe Rosler.
However, a loan spell in League Two with Carlisle United was a success with 15 games bringing four goals and a number of assists.
However, decisions need to be made whether Ged Garner, Dan Mooney and Lewis Baines, who have enjoyed loan spells in non-league, should go on loan to the National League or League Two.
Murdoch said: “Ash Hunter and Jack Sowerby both played at non-league level.
“They have had that experience, Nadesan had played at non-league level previously so it was important he came into the league.
“Now, with the likes of Baines and Mooney, they have had that experience at non-league level.
“Whether they need to go to the highest level of non-league or whether they are better being around our first team players is a decision that needs to be made for the next stage of their pathway.
“Ash Hunter came from Ilkeston and has done very well in the time he has been with us; we are not sure where he will go next, hopefully we will go to the Championship and he will join us.”