Aidy Boothroyd says ‘one or two’ more members of the Cobblers’ youth team could find themselves in the first-team selection frame in the coming weeks.
Town’s under-18s routed York City 5-0 in an FA Youth Cup second-round tie at Sixfields on Wednesday night with the first team manager watching from the stand.
Sixteen-year-old Ivan Toney, who became the club’s youngest ever player when he appeared in the first team’s FA Cup game at Bradford 24 hours earlier, scored four goals in the thrashing with David Moyo, who has also played senior football for Northampton, also on target.
Dean Snedker, who holds a professional contract at Sixfields, was in goal, while it was a victory achieved without arguably the best player of the group, as second-year scholar Lewis Hornby is currently being saved for first-team duties.
Boothroyd is beginning to get some senior members of this squad back from injury, with Ben Harding given the green light to feature against Wycombe and Chris Hackett recovering from illness.
But the manager wants the players in the youth system to be able to see a clear path to the first team, and is confident there will be more coming through in the near future.
“The boys did very well in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night and they see that lads like Ivan Toney, David Moyo and Lewis Hornby have all played in the first team,” he said.
“So they know they’ve got an opportunity now and I think every club needs that. Players need to know they can come through and get a chance.
“From what I saw on Tuesday night there are one or two others that could come in and play as well.
“The chairman was very happy and it is important to have a good youth system at any club.
“We won’t be putting any pressure on them because it’s doubtful that they could sustain it for a full league campaign, but in the short-term there might be some answers in the youth team, certainly.
“I think we can expect one or two more to make their debut.”
Callum Powell enjoyed a good game for the youth team on Wednesday and was an influence throughout the match while Claudio Dias, who has been an unusued substitute in the senior side, played the full 90 minutes.
Boothroyd, though, is keen to keep the pressure off the club’s emerging talents.
“Callum did very well,” he said. “His favourite player is Ronaldo and he wasn’t quite at that level last night, but he did very well.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on them. Somebody once said that you don’t win anything with kids and ended up with egg on their face but I’m a big believer in youth.
“You don’t want too many of them in the team and you don’t want a dads army either.
“Their energy and enthusiasm is excellent and I was really pleased with them on Tuesday night.”