Boss believes teenage Mansfield Town striker Jimmy Knowles is the real deal

Jimmy Knowles - four goal hero.
Jimmy Knowles - four goal hero.

Mansfield Town manager David Flicroft believes teenage striker Jimmy Knowles is set to make a big impact after promoting him to the first team squad.

The Sutton-born 17-year-old bagged four goals in a reserve game last week and has quickly impressed the other first teamers.

He was on the bench at Exeter last weekend and Flitcroft said Knowles was there on merit and not as a token gesture.

“I have been buoyed by Jimmy Knowles coming into the squad and training with us,” he smiled.

“Young players give off that energy and it excites me.

“I trust him one million per cent. This is not a token gesture.

“I have seen him a couple of times now and he belongs with the first team squad.

“Greg Abbott has spoken to his dad and we have explained that.

“Jimmy will train with us every day and deservedly so.

“I watched him training from some scaffolding to see what he was seeing from a bird’s eye view and he thinks like a first team player and thinks like a Mansfield Town player.

“He is a good technician and he scores goals. He buzzes me up to be honest. He is going to be some player.

“He has strong legs and good balance.”

Flicroft is hoping to see a production line of young talent make the first team and said: “The reason I came here was because of the job the lads were doing in the academy. I have huge respect for them and did have before I came here.

“There is a pathway here to the first team.”

But he said the promotion to the first team had to be earned.

“I don’t believe in giving kids anything,” he said. “A lot of my life has been about you earning what you get and I have never involved a kid as a token gesture as I don’t think it’s fair on the kid or the team.

“They other find you out. But they love this kid. They have taken him in. They know he can play in the systems we play in and can compete.

“I love his reactions when he gets things wrong. It’s razor-like. He wants to work hard and go and find that ball again if he gives it away.”