Youth the way forward for the Linnets
Neil Fryatt has urged supporters to get fully behind King’s Lynn Town Reserves’ young guns.
Even though his side are in the bottom half of Thurlow Nunn Division One North, Lynn’s reserve chief believes the future has never been brighter at The Walks.
Fryatt said: “I know that results haven’t been great but it’s a different format for the reserves now. It’s a new era for the team.
“The side we are putting out each week is getting younger, to the point where we had two 16-year-olds making their debuts last weekend.
“Since I took over in mid-season, I think we’ve had three losses and two draws. It was always going to be a question of small steps at a time and the side will continue to be used as a development team.
“When you think the majority of the side is made up of players from the youth team, who had a crowd of 300 for the game against Dereham in the FA Youth Cup, it would be nice to see between 100 and 150 here for reserve games.
“They need and deserve the support from the town and it would make a big difference to them out on the pitch.”
It has been a season of transition for Lynn’s second string who welcome Cornard to The Walks tomorrow.
Fryatt, who has both played and managed the first team, says patience is still the key factor when developing youngsters at the club.
“Yes you do have to have patience, but as in any sport you want to see youngsters come through and take their opportunity,” said Fryatt.
“I know you can’t paper over results but the players in the team have got the ability. It’s just about adding that mental toughness and consistency to their game.
“We are getting to half-time and we’ve still been in games. Since I took on the job the average age of the team has been between 17 and 18 and, at times, they’ve played some lovely football.
“We were 2-0 down against Haverhill at the break recently but came back to lead 3-2 before conceding in the last minute.
“The Haverhill management team were very complimentary about how we played. I don’t need a pat on the back as manager, but it’s nice to get the recognition for how we try to play.
“The rest of this season will be a learning curve but it will stand the players in good stead for next season.
“They will be a year older, know what the level is like and will understand what both Adam (Seal) and myself expect of them.”
With several youth team players coming through to play for the reserves, and some, going on beyond and featuring for the first team this season, the progress is there for all to see.
The likes of Owen Gilbert, Joe Gascoigne, Charlie Rudland, Kieran Shipp, Nathan Daw, Kyran Stannard, Charlie Congreave and Harry Baldry have all made the step up and Fryatt has praised the pathway available to youngsters.
“With Ian (Culverhouse) as the manager there is a pathway for young players to come through into the first team,” he said.
“I know he didn’t get on the pitch, but Kieran Shipp was on the bench on Saturday which shows there’s an avenue.
“It would be nice to think that two or three of younger players in the reserves and youth will go on to push for a first team place over the next two or three seasons.
“King’s Lynn have got some quality footballers in the first team squad. If you are a youngster at the club why would you not want to be a part of that squad?