Adam Murray believes the Stags’ future is bright.
Mansfield Town’s youth side sit top of their division and Murray has already held talks with his staff about integrating promising players in to first team training.
Young trio Jack Thomas, Joe Fitzpatrick and Corbin Shires were all handed professional contracts in May and Murray said the infrastructure is in place to see more come through.
He said: “They’re top of the league and the more we can breed our own than that’s ultimately the goal. Our young pros know the standards have risen. If they are good enough they’ll go in.
“You do have to deal with the here and now but I’ve said to the board that I don’t want this to be a one-hit wonder that’ll be over in a few months and we go back to having no future goal.
“The new kids that we have got in and the academy are the future so whether I’m manager or someone else the infrastructure needs to be there. The infrastructure is there and the quality has been tremendous, that’s why they’re top.
“They’re a big part of this football club and over the next few years we want to see the like of Thomas, Fitzpatrick and one or two others grabbing shirts and keeping them. They have to understand how important it is.
The Stags manager, whose side face Wycombe Wanderers at the One Call Stadium on Saturday, had a few words of warning for the club’s young prospects about the pitfalls of professional football.
“Sometimes when they get in to the first team environment and they think that’s it, they think they’ve made it. They take their foot off the gas, they don’t want to work harder than they did before and before you know it you’re working in Tescos,” said Murray, who made his debut for Derby County in the Premier League.
“Professional football is a dream job that you’ve got to earn the right to have and you need to respect the game. If you don’t it’ll kick you in your so-and-sos.
“I’d gone from playing in the Premier League to playing for Mansfield in League Two. We used to train at school at that time and that was a big culture shock but it was a wake up call and something I probably needed.
“I probably had some of the best times I had as a young player here so it works both ways. We’ve taken a couple of young lads on loan over the past ten months and they’ve gone back to their club better people and better players.”