FARNHAM TOWN are ready to give youth a chance as they start plotting to climb the football pyramid.
Manager Tony Reid has made no secret of his desire to get out of the Combined Counties Premier Division South next season.
Reid has an eye on some experienced players to bolster his squad – but also knows he has a lot of promising teenagers desperate for a chance to do well.
He gave seven their opportunity on Tuesday night in the 4-0 Southern Combination Cup defeat to Isthmian League side Ashford Town.
He said: “The under-18s who played gave me a lot of positives to take from the game – they are energetic, they want to learn and have now had a taste of first-team football against an opposition from a higher league.
“To be that age and to get kind of exposure is a real credit to them.
“A lot of them will be playing first team football next season and in a year or so many of them will be creating quite a reputation for themselves.
“I am looking at a new crop of players for next season.
“I need to make plans as I know Step 2 and Step 3 clubs looking to strengthen their sides to get into play-offs will be looking at some of our players.
“We have to have a back-up plan because the temptation for players to be involved in a higher level is always there.
“Who wouldn’t want to take it as a player?
“They may say they want to be loyal to me but we must play our cards close to our chests and have a back-up plan just in case.
“Am I a bit too headstrong for some of them? Possibly so. But the mentality of some the players here has to change.
“Some of them seem to be settling for just getting a game with their mates – there’s no real ambition to win things.
“It doesn’t seem to matter to them if they win or lose, and players on the bench are questioning why they are not out there playing.
“But they haven’t done anything yet to be demanding first-team football.
“It’s ridiculous, but it’s the era we are in now, even at the top level. .
“Players sulk and if they think they’re not getting a chance they want to move on.
“That has come right down to our level.
“But don’t get me wrong – I have one or two youngsters who have the right level of cockiness.
“I love that – it shows they want to win.
“One or two have come in and shown up some players who have been here for a while.
“Take young George Fox. He told me during one game he had tweaked a hamstring but wanted to stay out there and play on.
“I love that mentality but I told him I would take him off so he can rest the injury.
“He’s only 17 and doesn’t look out of place. He wants to win everything out there on the pitch.
“I’m looking forward to working with players like him next season; I know some coaches say you should rein in the youngsters, but why would we want to do that?
“I want them to have that confidence, that swagger.
“I have a good bunch of 16, 17 and 18 year olds to work with.”
One player Reid is keen to keep is versatile 16-year-old Olly Ryman.
He has had a trial with Chelsea, and the European champions liked what they saw and invited him back.
Reid added: “To get a call-back is good and if anything does happen I would like to strike a deal so we can keep him with us.
“Clubs often send youngsters out on loan to play men’s football and I would like him to be a regular here next season.
“He’s a good player and very grounded – definitely one for the future.