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Wilko Proud Of Young Pros

By: Richard Lord
Date: 13/01/2002

RESERVE TEAM coach Paul Wilkinson spoke to the Sports Telegraph of his delight over witnessing a trio of his reserve players making it through to the first team. Wilko now hopes they don't return to his reserve side.

"If you had said at the start of the season that we'd have Simon and Thommo, and even Ben - because he's really knuckled down well and done well - in the first team I would have been delighted.

"Chris Bolder hasn't been far away and he would have been there or thereabouts if he hadn't broken his fingers. He will be back playing next Wednesday, and they've nearly all made progress," informed the former Town player.

Following the departure of Lennie Lawrence, there has been a bit of a shuffle around at Blundell Park. Wilkinson has now had an extra dimension added to his already busy job schedule and he now takes an active role in first team affairs.

"Graham Rodger has asked me to go up in the stand with Grovesy being on the pitch. It just gives them a different view and then I go down to the line and tell them anything I've seen that needs changing.

"I'm just getting on with it. I've been in football long enough to know that these things happen and you just have to do your job and hope you stay. My job is to produce young players to push through for the first team and we've had a couple do that already.

"I don't want to see them come back. They've got to keep progressing with the first team squad, and I have to take the next ones out of the youth team and push them. You might find that we get a few indifferent results in the Reserves, like when we lost 5-1 at Stoke, because some of the younger lads aren't quite ready for that yet.

"It will take some time for them to settle down but it's important that the next batch are ready when they're needed."

Another youngster who has been progressing nicely has been Graham Hockless. Released from Hull City for not being tall enough, Graham has settled in at Grimsby and Wilko continued: "Graham has come on leaps and bounds. He needs to be a bit stronger, but he's worked very hard in the gym and has built himself up now. But he's a year behind the others, as is Iain Ward, and people forget that sometimes."



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