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Town Sign Scholarly Quintet

By: Jostein Jensen
Date: 29/06/2002

GRIMSBY have signed up five scholarship players to strengthen the club's quota of up-and-coming stars of the future, Town Youth Team Coach Neil Woods has revealed. "On Friday, we're signing on five Youth Scholarship players. Three of them are first year scholars," Woods told Mariners Net.

"Those five will get great opportunities this year in the Reserves and the Youth Team, and we have great hopes that they can progress to the First Team."

"The Youth set-up at Grimsby is highly respected in the game and throughout the North East region, especially the link that we have with the College. It gives us the option of bringing them into the Scholarship scheme or sending them to the College as an Academy player. They still get the same chance at training. Whenever they're not at college they come in training with me, otherwise Gary Childs trains them there, and they play in the Youth Team on a Saturday. A lot of local clubs are envious of that link because it enables us to keep more boys."

"With the First Team squad being as small as it is, these lads are going to get a much earlier chance to step up, which I think can only be good for them."

Joe Lightowler
Born: 1985 in Hull
Position: Striker
Career so far: U-15 player of 00-01. Youth team debut 10.11.01. Woods verdict: "Joe Lightowler is a prolific goalscorer. He’s one of the most natural goalscorers as a young lad that I've ever seen and worked with. He’s been with us since he was in the under-13s and he’s had a lot of interest from two or three very, very big Premiership clubs. He’s enjoyed working with the staff in the School of Excellence. Thankfully we've managed to persuaded him to sign full-time with us."

Chris Hyam
Born: in Hull
Position: Defender
Career so far: Three years in School of Excellence
Woods verdict: "Chris Hyam is one who we've had in the School of Excellence for three years. He too has had interest from Premiership clubs, but he wasn't interested in them – he wanted to come with us. He’s a utility player who can play anywhere in the back four and also in midfield. He’s got a very good football brain."

Liam Parker
Born: in Skegness
Position: Centre-half
Career so far: U-14 player of 99/00, U-16 player of 01-02.
Woods verdict: "Liam Parker is actually younger brother of Wes Parker who’s already with us. He’s very athletic, very fit, very dominant in the air, quick and mobile. Again, we've got very high hopes from him."

James Davy
Born: in Grainthorpe
Position: Left full back
Career so far: England School international
Woods verdict: "James Davy is a left back. Although he played most of the season in the Youth Team, he developed like we hoped he would, and finished off the season by representing England Schools. He went on a tour with them to Czechoslovakia and Slovenia. He’s 189 cm tall, very athletic and a superb left foot. James Davy will certainly handle Youth and Reserve Team football and who knows by the end of the season?"

Bradley Hughes
Born: 24.03.1984 in Hemel Hempstead
Position: Goalie
Career so far: Former Watford youngster Woods verdict: "Then there’s Bradley Hughes, a goalkeeper. He'll come in as a third year - transferred over from Watford. He came over on trial and did very well. We've had some great reports on him from Watford. It was more a case of people in front of him there rather than his ability. He'll be going straight into the Reserves with Stevie Croudson still being injured, and could end up being on the bench for the first few First Team games as well. But he should handle it."

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