Teenagers Roberts and Whaler are in Cobblers squad '˜on merit'

Dean Austin has made it clear the the promotion of youth teamers Morgan Roberts and Sean Whaler to the first team squad was a decision made purely on merit.

Saturday, 14th April 2018, 8:00 am
Morgan Roberts was on the bench for Tuesday's clash at Blackpool (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

The 17-year-olds were both included in the 20-man Town squad that made the trip to Blackpool on Tuesday night, with Roberts named on the bench for the 3-0 defeat at Bloomfield Road.

Austin insists the pair’s inclusion and involvement with the senior group is in no way a ‘PR stunt’, and the two former Northampton School for Boys pupils are now deservedly working with the senior squad.

“I have come from a background where I have always developed players, and that was no PR stunt or anything like that, the boys are in on merit,” said the Town caretaker boss.

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Sean Whaler travelled with the first team squad to Blackpool in midweek

“On the days when we have had lower numbers, when players might be doing recovery sessions or what have you, these are the first two boys that always get brought over.

“And when they have come over, they have always been excellent.

“As soon as I was asked to take on the role (of caretaker boss) I brought them in straight away to the session last Thursday, and at the moment they will remain there.”

Roberts and Whaler could again be in contention for places in the Town squad at Bury on Saturday, although Town’s numbers have been boosted by the return of Ash Taylor and Matt Crooks.

Sean Whaler travelled with the first team squad to Blackpool in midweek

But Austin says he sees no problem in throwing youngsters into the first team fray, as long as they are good enough.

“I am one of those people with young players, and I experienced it when I was a 19-year-old being thrown in at the deep end,” he said.

“We were in a situation in league two trying to go for promotion, and me and three other lads, all under 19, were put in, and we got promoted.

“I just think that with younger players there is a natural enthusiasm, a zest, and an energy and desire to learn and improve.

“I have to have that around me, and these two boys have it in abundance.

“But they are also quality players, and let’s not beat around the bush, if they didn’t deserve to be in there, they wouldn’t be in there.

“They have earned the right, and as I said to Morgan the other day when he got his first team shirt, ‘you have now done the easy bit, the hard bit comes now’.

“The hard bit is staying here, and pushing on and being ready to play.”