DEVELOPING homegrown talent is the key to a club’s future, says Simon Randall.
The Albury City coach says they prefer to develop their juniors rather than simply import players or poach others from rival clubs.
But Randall admits even those plans have been fast-tracked with key losses to last year’s surprise packet in the off-season.
City has had a baptism of fire in 2014 with tomorrow’s clash against Myrtleford meaning they have played the top four teams from last year in its first six games.
City took its first three points in a 3-1 win over Hotspurs last week and Randall is again targeting Cup play-offs for his young squad.
“For any club there are two paths — one where you import players from outside the competition, look to poach players from other clubs or look within and attempt to grow that talent,” Randall said.
“Some clubs have gone for the first option and while it makes others work harder to be competitive, improves the standard, I’d question its effect on those coming through the ranks.
“I’m not sure it is great for the long-term future of any club but that is the choice some have made.”
Randall pointed to the Kelly brothers — Jacob and Angus — Lionel Masudi, who scored last week and even Nick Higgins who is still just 17 but in his second year of senior soccer.
“We have a great group of teenagers coming through last year’s under-14 and under-16 sides,” he said.
“Some of those players have already played senior football this year and we expect even more will be blooded during the course of the year.
“But we need to be patient because they will make mistakes yet increasingly we are finding that they are a lot less inhibited by expectations and can produce the unexpected.
“Admittedly some of these players would have benefited from another year playing reserve grade but with Darcy Pawlik going to Diamonds and Aaron Gough going to a semi-professional league we have had to bring them on a bit quicker.”
Randall expects a tough challenge tomorrow against a Myrtleford side having won its past three matches.
“I don’t know much about their two English boys other than what I’ve read,” he said.
“But you would expect that they will play with the same disciplined structure that has seen them among the top sides in the competition in recent years.”