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Story posted: Friday, 4th March 2005

In Reserve - The 2nd XI - a managers view
Dave Acton

Dave Acton

I feel last weekend was an important milestone for the Reserves.
When David Clay and I took control of the team we set ourselves certain targets which we now feel we have began to achieve.

An important aim for us was to build a squad that could achieve different tasks. It had to be large enough to handle missing players for whatever the reason and still be able, not only to field a full side but, still one of some quality. It had to have stability, a number of key players whose experience could aid and develop the up and coming talent. It had to have players who could push for first team football and be called upon when necessary. It also had to provide opportunities for the Youth team players coming through and see them gain experience on another level on their way up the ladder. It had to find and encourage young talent. It also had to help first team players recover from injuries and gain in confidence. On top of these it had to develop itself to a standard that the players themselves could be proud of and also achieve the results the fans and managers too could be pleased with. Of course deep down on top of this we want to win, very much so in fact.

Last weekend we were able to see most if not all of these things come to light. Although, we will not for a moment rest on laurels, for we have achieved nothing yet. To create something really special is our aim, and we are a very long way from that yet. I feel sure though that we will make every effort to reach our goals.

It was pleasing to see the return of Chris White in a Gresley shirt and even more so back on the field of play. I'm sure many Gresley fans will know more about Chris than me, but from what I have heard I feel sure it was a much wanted return from a player much liked by the Gresley supporters. It shouldn't be too long before we see Chris back to his best. Our help and support in aiding Chris reach that task I feel sure will be very rewarding.

From a personal point of view the weekend was very rewarding too. Almost five years ago I was able to put in place an idea, despite many peoples negativity and thanks to the support of a Chairman who believed in that idea and was prepared to take a chance against that negativity.

That idea was to set up a junior section that could give local lads a "realistic" opportunity of playing football at a high level, as well as supporting a semi-pro club to a point where it would one day be built on the foundation of that very idea. It would have a team year after year full of home grown talent and would reap the success and rewards that that foundation would give it.

Though it is still very early days and we still have much work to do convincing both the young and old of this idea, we are at last beginning to see some of the idea realised. The Reserves now regularly fields two youngsters from that junior set up, Jack Ward and Johnnie Guthrie. Both began at Gresley at under 15's and have progressed into the youth team and now into the Reserves. On top of this we have four lads signed with the Reserves, three at fifteen and one who has just turned sixteen, who have come through the ranks of the junior set up over the last four years. Matt Holmes and James Rowland have both featured on the bench, Tom Allen played against Oadby, and Patrick Rowell made his debut on Saturday after his release from Port Vale.

This for me proves the idea works and is already a success, it is only a matter of time until one of our junior lads has his first team call up and after that the influx of junior players will become greater and greater.

On a final point, these six lads are not the end of the line of talent, but only the very beginning. At the end of this season the Youth Team will be handed a very successful bunch of lads from the under 16's. About 18 of them, all with lots of ability and very eager to progress through the ranks of Gresley Rovers F.C. as well as wearing the Gresley shirt with some pride.

It has also been rewarding to see the return of experienced lads such as Andy Dunn, Paul Grosse, and Ryan Yearsley who are prepared to pass on their much needed knowledge to the younger up and coming players. On top of this they still are able to perform very well on the pitch, have Gresley Rovers at heart, and have been of great personal support to myself. I feel confident that one day they will get their much deserved rewards too.

I do not have the space to mention all the other lads, who in every case continue to make the Reserve side as successful as it has, began to be and who I'm sure will progress on to higher levels one day.

On top of all this we won another league game, pleasing for us all. Even so, still much more to do.

Dave Acton
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League Position
  Team P GD Pts
7 Belper Town 18 0 29
8 Sheffield FC 17 0 27
9 Ossett United 17 4 25
10 Loughborough Dynamo 17 4 22
11 Stamford AFC 16 2 22
12 Gresley 19 -19 21
13 Frickley Athletic 17 -11 19
14 Cleethorpes Town 16 -3 18
15 Spalding United 19 -15 18
16 Pickering Town 16 -5 17
17 Carlton Town 17 -4 16

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