Brady wants to bring more youngsters through after Cross makes his Cobblers debut at Sunderland

Teenage midfielder was one of four academy players on the pitch

Monday, 10th May 2021, 10:11 am
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 10:12 am
Liam Cross on his debut.
Liam Cross on his debut.

Jon Brady wants Sunday's final game of the season at Sunderland to be a sight of things to come for the Cobblers after they finished with four academy players on the pitch.

Shaun McWilliams started his 15th game in a row in midfield and he was joined by Caleb Chukwuemeka, Morgan Roberts and Liam Cross, who became the latest academy player to make his first-team debut.

The 18-year-old, who was top scorer from midfield for the youth team last season, replaced Mark Marshall for the final 12 minutes at the Stadium of Light.

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With the club set to make some structural changes to help bring the academy more in line with the first-team, Brady hopes more youngsters will break through next season.

"What was really good about Sunday was that we had four academy graduates on the pitch towards the end," said Brady.

"Liam Cross made his debut and he's a fantastic young player - he was top scorer from midfield for the youth team this season.

"Caleb also goes on that run and wins a free-kick and Morgan finally got his chance to come on - he's worked so hard. That was hugely pleasing for everyone that has worked in the academy to see those players get on the pitch.

"But now we need to develop these boys in the best way we can to give them an opportunity to force their way into our team.

"We want to be competitive but at the same time we want to create culture where our young players do get opportunities.

"But they have to deserve and earn the right and force their way through, and I believe with the way we can develop them, they will be hungry, strong and ready."

Brady also had plenty of praise for the more experienced Sam Hoskins, who played Sunday's game at full-back and scored Town's late goal, his eighth of the season.

"For all the stick he gets off people, I just can't fathom it myself," Brady added. "He gives so much effort and has such a great work ethic.

"Yes, his quality needs to be a little bit better, but he's all in. Obviously we've been struggling in defensive positions and the first question I asked him was 'can you play right-back?' and straightaway the answer was 'yes, I'll do it'.

"He's not selfish, he's so selfless and I thought he played very well there and showed some really good game intelligence."