Jamie Day is hoping to see more of the club’s young Academy players make the breakthrough after striker Casey Johnson signed on the dotted line at last week’s Staines Town game to seal a one-year contract with the Fleet.
The Ebbsfleet manager has not had the time to run the rule over the Academy players one by one as he concentrates on the first team in his opening months in charge, but is more than aware of the talent in the youth ranks.
“I’ve seen bits and bobs of the Academy,” he told FleetOnline. “It’s been difficult with the younger lads to assess them all as we’re trying to get the first-team motoring but I know we’ve got some good youngsters coming through. I always want to give young lads an opportunity so whilst we’ve brought in experienced players, if they’re good enough they’ll get a chance. I don’t care if they’re 17 or 18 if they’re equipped for the level. It’s great for Casey Johnson to have earned this contract and there are a good couple of them coming through who are capable of earning contracts with the first team so it’s down to them to take the opportunity.”
Vice chairman Peter Varney said of Johnson’s signing, “We are delighted at the progress of the Under 18 team in its first season in the Conference Youth Alliance. The objective of the youth academy is to produce young talent for the first team and Casey has done exceptionally well this season and fully deserves this first professional contract. I am sure more players will follow. Daryl McMahon and Steve Watt deserve great credit for the development of Casey and other players.”
Day also explained the reasons behind Brandon Hall’s loan, saying the player simply wanted to keep playing. “Brandon went out through suspension, Preston has come in and done well, so it is unfortunate for him. Brandon said he wanted to play some games so getting him out for a month keeps him ticking over and we’ve got cover in that position – so we could afford to allow him that. There’s nothing more to it – it’s purely he wanted some game time and I understand that.”