Edwards looking forward to seeing local pride on the pitch
Exeter City assistant manager Rob Edwards has expressed his excitement at the prospect of some of the club’s younger local players representing the club with more regularity next season.
Jamie Reid, Jake Gosling, Jordan Moore-Taylor and Jacob Jagger Cane all made their professional debuts for the Grecians last season after coming through the Academy at the Cat & Fiddle, while others like Jimmy Keohane and Scot Bennett began to cement their position in the team. And Robbo is expecting the supporters – as well as everyone else at the club – to give the young crop their support in what is likely to be their breakthrough seasons. The departure of some senior players means that there will be an onus on (and an opportunity for) the young local lads to earn matchday places with some frequency.
“It’s good for fans to see local players in the team,” said Robbo. “The crowd want to see players from Exeter in the Exeter team, and there’s a lot of local lads that have got a really good chance of being in the team this year. Everybody at the club – staff, older players, fans – have got to look after the younger lads when they’ve made their debut.
“We’ve all been there, trying to break through – and it’s not easy to come into the game now. It’s very competitive and as hard as ever to establish yourself into a first team, so we’ve all got to support the young lads and make it an environment to succeed.
“For players that have come through in recent years like George Friend and Dean Moxey, the environment was right for those guys to come in and do well – so we need to make it an enjoyable team to come into.”
And Edwards was keen to stress that there is plenty of talent in the young legs, which is cause for optimism in the forthcoming season. While a number of players picked up less than a dozen or so appearances during 2012/13, their challenge will be to translate their potential into performances befitting of professional players on a regular basis.
“They wouldn’t have been given the chance to stay at the club to this level if they didn’t have the talent,” continued Rob. “But now it’s a case of trying to establish themselves as regulars – and possibly to find their names on the radar of bigger clubs too.
“A lot of the players have already made their debuts, and now their targets will be to establish themselves in the team. We won’t expect them to be playing 46 games, but perhaps they can aim for 20 or 30 games rather than the seven or eight they played last year. Consistency is difficult for younger players, and it’s important that they don’t let their heads drop if they have a couple of bad performances and find themselves out the team.
“It’d be unrealistic to expect them to play every game because the strains on the body for younger players are too much to be playing Saturday-Tuesday every week, but we’ll be wanting them to try to make themselves valuable members of the squad.”
Pre-season begins in earnest on Monday 1st July, with the Grecians’ first friendly scheduled a week later as City go away to Dorchester Town on Monday 8th July (kick-off 7.45pm).