Paul Dickov column: Fast-track system will stand our kids in good stead

Rovers have predominantly had a young bench this season.
Rovers have predominantly had a young bench this season.

It was pleasing to see the under 21s get their first win of the season against Hartlepool this week.

However, we’re not looking at results at that level, we’re looking at performances and the character of the players coming through.

I want to see the lads in the development squad pushing the senior players.

What we’re trying to do this year, beneath the first team, is get as many development games into the youth team players and move them up through the ladder.

We’ve got a group of development players in with the first team, so we want to get the youth team players into the development squad and, if possible, some of the schoolboys into the youth team.

The thinking behind that is that so when lads do make that transition, and they make that step up, it’s not a shock to them.

Even in my short time as a manager, the jump from youth team football straight into development and first team football is massive.

Sometimes it can take lads three, four or five months to integrate into that environment and to get used to it.

If players are on shorter term contracts it doesn’t give them a long time to impress you and to make that step up.

We tried it a bit last year but throughout this year we want to progress lads up the ladder as quickly as we can.

Come the end of the season when we’re making decisions on players, that’ll help us a coaching staff make more informed choices.

And also when these lads get the chance to join in with the first team they’ll be ready, because they’ve experienced it already.

I’m really enjoying working with the younger lads because they’ve got a desire to do well. It’s part of my job I really enjoy.

And the lads know if they work hard for me, I’ll give them a chance.

Mitchell Lund, Billy Whitehouse and Harry Middleton all got on the pitch at Burton and that has a massive knock-on effect all the way through the system.

We’re saying to all the kids - from under 16, under 18, those in the development squad - have a look at the other younger lads in the first team squad already. It shows if you apply yourself right, and you want to learn and want to work hard, you’ll get the chance at this club.