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Ricky Duncan Praises Young Prospects

18 February 2020

Read Ricky Duncan's Gillingham programme notes as the Academy Manager praises the youngsters getting a chance in the first team.

Tonight's programme is an Academy special, highlighting the success of players who have stepped up to first team level.

Tom Clifford and Matt Rush both feature in the matchday magazine, along with Lewis Gard who returned to match action for the U23s last week.

And as a one-off, Duncan has penned his thoughts on the current crop ahead of the visit of Gillingham.

They're available to read ahead of the match here...


Good evening and welcome to tonight’s game against Gillingham.

As Academy Manager of the club it’s a great feeling to see so many players that you’ve worked with for a long time get their chance at first-team level. We’ve produced players on a regular basis, but probably none more than we’re seeing now getting opportunities to impress.

Although it may be due to circumstances, I’d have to say there are one or two out there that have done it completely on merit and by showing the Manager they’ve got something to offer.

I always say to these young guys, you never know when your opportunity is going to come and however it comes, you have to be ready to take it. So far I think every one of them has stepped up, given it their level best and not let anyone down.

Boys that have been here since the age of nine, working up through the age groups, developing as players and people and making a debut is what the Academy is about. It certainly gives us as coaches the drive to continue working hard every day, and I know that supporters have an affection when they see guys that have come through the system pull on the shirt.

They come through with a bond, one for the club and one for each other. If that creates a better team spirit going forward over the next 13 games if they stay involved then it bodes well for us in the future.

We’ve learnt loads and more importantly they as players will learn so much. They know what’s expected of them and it can only get better the longer we stick with them as club. Two or three of them could end up being regulars next season.

Finally, I’ve spoken about the Lincoln game a few weeks ago as being one of my proudest days in my time here and I think that can be said for everyone behind the scenes too who work many hours and go above and beyond. They’ll be on the phone to the boys wishing them all well. We’ve got a really good bond at the Academy and not one person will take all the credit, it’s a team thing which infiltrates into the kids as well.

It’s great to see the supporters responding to the lads and getting behind them, I know that really helps.

Enjoy the game!



You can buy your copy of the programme for £3 at Roots Hall from the usual places.

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