Grimsby Town's young guns can go all the way, says Robbie Stockdale
ROBBIE Stockdale says Mariners first-teamers Andi Thanoj, Bradley Wood and Dayle Southwell can inspire his young guns.
All three have made the step up from youth level in recent years to take their place in Grimsby Town's senior side – and played in Friday's draw with Hull City.
After watching his side turn in an assured performance during Saturday's 1-0 win over Winterton Rangers, Youth boss Stockdale said their stories prove that the system works.
He also believes that a number of the current crop have the potential to emulate their rise to senior level.
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Stockdale said: "The fact that our lads can see Andi, Bradley and Dayle playing in the first team and see that pathway from the youth team to the first team squad is massively important.
"Our young lads are in and around that every day. They see that progression and it is inspiring for them.
"The managers are great because they will call up the players and give them the chance to train with the first team.
"Every player has potential. For every Dayle, Andi and Bradley that you get, there will be other players that might not get a pro deal at our club that go on to do well elsewhere such as Danny North.
"But it's about giving kids a chance to make it at their local club.
"Having the reserve side back this year is a big boost for our lads. It will mean that they can test themselves quality opposition on a regular basis and we can see how they cope with that.
"We'll see where we can get them – we're not getting carried away but there are promising signs.
"There's bags of potential in this group but we all know that potential will only get you so far in the game.
"At some point they need to realise that potential and show that you can do it at the top level. We've got a few players in this squad that will get close to it I'm sure."
Stockdale declared himself pleased with his side's showing in the game against Northern Counties East League Premier side Winterton.
"We were very pleased. Winterton are a good side and it's usually a first-team fixture, but with the game against Hull the night before, we took it on" he added.
"We knew it would be a hard game and so the fact that they stood up to the physical aspect of it was very pleasing.
"Bear in mind that we've had lads that have just turned 16 who were playing against ex-pros and players that have played at this level for a long time.
"The patience on the ball was also nice to see.
"They make the wrong decisions some of the time, but so do professional players at the very highest level. At the minute, they're moving in the right direction.
"Winterton play at a decent standard and we more than held our own and played some really good football.
"There are still things to work on, so we're not getting carried away at all.
"We've got another game at Louth tonight, which is going to be another big test but at the minute they are really taking things on board and progressing well.
"We're four weeks into pre-season and at the minute, everything is great.
"Everyone is doing what we're asking of them and they're all eager to learn.
"There will be ups and downs throughout their time with us. But we know that we've got some good players who definitely have the potential to progress."