DONS co-owner Carl Hall has revealed his ambition to tap into Doncaster’s home grown talent - and he’s put the first building block in place, writes Paul Goodwin.
The Championship One club will warm up for the new season by facing a Doncaster Select team - made up of the best players from amateur sides Bentley Good Companions, Toll Bar and Moorends - at the Keepmoat Stadium later this month.
And Hall says the friendly clash, which he hopes will become an annual fixture, is the first part of the Dons’ long term plan to recruit more locally born players.
Hall said: “This match is a fantastic opportunity for lads in the amateur game to play at the Keepmoat against a professional side.
“But it’s more than that - it’s part of my strategy to get more Doncaster-born players turning out for the Dons.
“Next year we’re hoping to have a second team and my aim is for that team, wherever possible, to be made up entirely of players from this town.
“Once we get those lads on board, and work with them, within five years they should be knocking on the door of the first team.
“We want it to be an honour for anyone who is picked to play for the representative team,” he added.
“And it’s the lads who are picked for the Select team who eventually we’ll be looking at as potential Dons players in the future .”
Bentley, Toll Bar and Moorends are each represented by ten players in a provisional 30-man squad.
Toll Bar coach Craig Lawton said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea and a long time coming to be honest.
“It’s great for the amateur clubs because it gives the players something to work towards and strive for.
“It’s especially good for the younger players.
“Bentley have got a very young side who are doing really well and we’ve got a group of young players that are probably the best group the club has ever had.
“What this match will hopefully do in the long term is provide a stepping stone to the professional game.
“The lads who’ve been selected are already buzzing about it.”
Tickets for the friendly, to be played on Sunday, January 30 (3pm), are priced £8 for adults, £4 concessions and £2 for under 16s.