Martin praises squad for strong league position...
Martin Allen has said he is progressively looking to the development and youth teams to ensure players are coming through the system.
Martin has been present at several matches involving the younger players and has given many of those players to join the first team squad on match days.
“We have got ourselves a decent little squad here and I’m now, not every day, but I am now reviewing the development squad – the plans are in place with Mark Patterson so we are looking at the youth now and the under-16’s aswell.
“Josh Hare was on the bench the other night; Charlie Webster was on the bench at Bristol City. We’ve had quite a lot of the scholars and development squad travelling with the first team.
“Jack Evans, another 20-year old, is in the squad this weekend. Connor Essam is back and is in the squad for the weekend so overall it’s a good, healthy football club on and off the field. Progression is being made right the way through.
“They don’t always make it onto the subs bench but we often take one or two along with us and they have to help with the kit, the layout of the dressing room and they are involved with the players on the bus and with me.
“For them it’s probably a bit scary but being with me hopefully they settle down a bit and see I do smile sometimes and can be nice to them and not just make them train hard all the time.
“We took young Michael Freiter along the other week and he’s only 16.
“We have tried to incorporate them and bring them along to give them a taste of what it’s like at this top level and hopefully, my thinking is, that they will go back and train harder.
“They have had a taste of what it’s like on the bus with the first team and also gets used to them used to being wit the first team and seeing how professional we all are and how dedicated we are.”
“When we finished training on Thursday, and there were 20 training with us, and when I looked over my after I finished my work there were 16 players out on their own doing extra work to technically improve my game.
“I walked off very, very happy. I’m very proud of them and these are the reasons why we will not have a bad patch. We will just keep going full steam and I don’t think we have got into top gear to be honest.”
Martin touched on new defender Devante McKain and what he believes the player could bring to the squad during his 18-month contract.
He said: “He has been brought in after a recommendation from a good friend of mine who has a good eye foe a footballer. Devante has been playing for Maidenhead United – he is very strong, very fast, has a great leap, he’s very competitive and heads it well.
“He tackles, he’s an old fashioned, uncompromising defender and if corners or free kicks coming into your box you would put him into the middle and tell him to just head it and he will.
“He reminds me of an old player I had called Sam Sodje. After practising on his technical side he went on to play Premier League football after I had picked him up on a free transfer from Margate.
“He needs to work on his technical and physical side but hopefully by next July, if we have done our work right, he should be in and around our first team squad.
“We will see if we can do some good work with him next season.”
Finally Martin praised his side for the way in which they defend and attack as a unit and says everyone has a responsibility to perform both disciplines.
He said: “We defend as a team, people will say the goalkeeper and defenders are good but we don’t talk, train or work like that.
“Our defence starts with our forward players; they are our first line of defence. If they get through them then they have to work on our midfield, and they can run. If they lose the ball they will run back double quick, tackle and compete.
“Behind them we have a pretty good back four, and we have two really good goalkeepers. They all know their jobs through endless hours of working on the training pitch.
“The clean sheets have not come through luck, it’s our whole team. The same ethic can be spun around and we could say why hasn’t our striker scored 20 goals? That bugs the pants off of me because we all attack.
“When we get it our full backs are playing like wingers and there must be 15 players that have scored in our team. Everyone can score and everyone can defend so it’s a monumental effort from all of our players to put their bodies on the line and that’s right from the front.
“That is where it starts so full credit to them.”