SCOTT Fenwick believes the Northern League is ripe with talent and has called on more professional clubs to follow Hartlepool United’s lead in scouring the non-league market.
The 25-year-old hotshot came to the attention of club scouts last November after another impressive scoring run with Ebac Northern League side Dunston UTS, notching 15 goals.
Then Pools manager Paul Murray saw his potential and offered the former civil engineer a pro contract until the end of the season with the Sky Bet League Two side.
And Fenwick grabbed his chance of playing professional football with both hands, ending the season as Pools’ top league scorer despite joining four months into the season.
Fenwick ended the 2014-15 campaign with six goals from 19 appearances, including the opener against Exeter City on the final home game.
Preston loanee Jordan Hugill, himself a former Northern League star, also scored that day as Pools secured their Football League status against all the odds.
“People do not realise the standard of players in the Northern League,” Fenwick said.
“North Shields reached the Vase final again, how many years running is that, that a team from the North East has reached the final?
“I think more teams need to take gambles on young lads from the Northern League.
“The talent is there, clearly, and there is far too much quality in there to go unnoticed,” added Fenwick, who had previously enjoyed spells at the academies of the North East’s big three – Sunderland, Newcastle and Boro.
He had briefly been a professional in Scotland with Gretna, only for the border club to go bankrupt, with Fenwick returning to the North-East, where he split his week between full-time work and non-league football.
Pools exercised the option of extending his contract when the retained list was confirmed this week.
And Fenwick is now enjoying some time off from football after a turbulent first season as a professional, which saw him play under two managers and play a key role in the Great Escape.
The no-nonsense striker missed 11 games with injury but returned in the final weeks, impressing up front alongside Hugill against Exeter.
Fenwick added: “Me and Jordan have shown that the talent is there and it was great we both scored against Exeter.
“We have set a benchmark to show [those in the Northern League] that you should keep grafting hard because you never know who is watching.”
Since returning to his parent club, Hugill, 22, has been an unused sub for Preston in their semi final win over Chesterfield in the League One play-offs.
The Middlesbrough-born forward is now set for a trip to Wembley later this month as Simon Grayson’s Preston side bid to earn a place in the Championship next season.
Pools boss Ronnie Moore has previously said he would love to see the return of Hugill but that is unlikely, with the forward wanting to break into the Preston first team on a regular basis.