No givens - young players must earn a first team place says new Mansfield Town boss John Dempster

Despite his time as Mansfield Town academy manager, new first team boss John Dempster has warned the club’s youngsters none of them will have an easy ride into the League Two side.

John Dempster, Mansfield Town manager, press conference.
John Dempster, Mansfield Town manager, press conference.

David Flitcroft, who was sacked on Tuesday, had begun to bring Dempster’s young hopefuls through into first team squad training and given some of them a taste of first team action.

But Dempster knows the young players inside out and said they would still have to work really hard and earn it if they were to feature in his first team.

“One of the benefits I will bring is that I know the academy inside out,” he said.

“The link between the academy and first team was improved by the ex-manager and I will look to continue to improve that.

“The young players at this football club will get a chance if they are good enough. I know them inside out and they know me.

“But there will be no givens. They will have to earn it.

“They will have to work extremely hard to get in and around it and work even harder to get into the first team.”

Dempster explained how he could tell if someone was fully ready for the big step up.

“You can tell by his performances, the way he acts off the pitch, by getting to know his personality and seeing how he reacts to the first team environment,” he said.

“If he is performing well in training, if he’s scoring goals for the reserves or keeping clean sheets for the reserves, there is a good chance he might need throwing in at some point.

“There is no crystal ball with it. If a young player goes into the first team sometimes it is sink or swim. You don’t know how these players will do until they are given that opportunity.”

Dempster has been delighted with how the first team squad have welcomed the young players into their environment

“The current first team squad is strong with good characters,” he said. “One of the benchmarks of their character is how that squad have accepted the academy players when they have been up training with them. They have embraced them, which I think is important.

“To have the first team’s experienced players in and around them will only bring the young players on even further.”