Sunderland RCA boss challenges promising youngsters to stake their claim
Sunderland RCA manager Martin Swales has urged the club’s young players to grasp the opportunity handed to them by a raft of injuries to first-team regulars.
It is just over a year since the Northern League Division One side linked up with local junior club Sunderland Uno Youth to form their first junior setup.
Tuesday night saw RCA under-17s’ left-back Tom Bell make his first-team debut as a substitute in the 4-0 home win against Penrith.
A number of other youngsters have been handed the opportunity to train under the gaze of Swales and his coaching staff as they contend with an ever-growing injury list.
Key players such as striker Mark Davison, midfielder Dylan Elliott and defender Ross Preston have all been sidelined in recent weeks – but their absence has offered a chance to some of the club’s younger players to shine.
The likes of Leo Hackett, Louis Roper, Josh Buckett and twin brothers Ethan and Noel Partridge are all seen as having the potential to follow Bell in stepping up into Northern League action in the near future.
Swales admitted that having younger players that could progress into the first team is “a massive bonus” as he contends with a hectic schedule over the coming weeks and months.
He told The Echo: “It’s a massive bonus having these young lads in and around the first-team now.
“We haven’t got a great deal of money as a club, so we have to rely on young kids coming through.
“To be fair, the senior lads enjoy seeing these lads come in with no fear.
“Sometimes you worry that they’ll find it tough coming up against experienced Northern League
“There is a pathway there now, that’s why we want our juniors pushing because they can get a chance.
“Colin Larkin has trained a few of the lads, including Tom Bell and he came on against Penrith, he did great for us to be fair and that’s a real positive for Larks too.
“The door is open for the younger lads and it’s all about taking the opportunities that are opening up to them.”
RCA return to Northern League Division One action on Saturday when they visit Billingham Town.