JOHN Brayford wants to see Burton Albion’s Academy graduates take the chances that come their way in the first team this season.
Brayford, who came through the ranks at Albion and made his senior debut at just 18 years old back in 2006, was The Brewers’ captain in our 3-1 defeat away at Gillingham on Saturday.
An early injury to Damien McCrory gave recent Academy graduate Reece Hutchinson the opportunity to make his debut at left-back.
There were also starts for Joe Sbarra and Ben Fox - the latter making his first league start for The Brewers.
And now Brayford wants to see those youngsters continue to stake their claims when playing for the senior side, as they will get chances over the course of the season.
“Reece has been training with us all pre-season so he’s up to speed,” said Brayford.
“He came in and it’s a shame to lose Damien to injury so early, but Reece has come in, got his head down and worked hard.
“You can’t ask for more from him and he worked hard against Gillingham.
“They’ll get chances throughout the season. We haven’t got the biggest squad in the world so they’ll get those opportunities to stake a claim for the shirt and start week-in, week-out.
“Reece has come in and done well, Joe started and Ben started on Saturday. It’s up to them to grow - it’s a difficult league and they need to stamp their authority on it, whatever age they are.
“It’s different from whatever standard they’ve been playing at. It’s got a very physical nature and it’s a very different concept of the game. They’ll get up to speed, get used to it and I’m sure they’ll progress throughout the season.”
Getting up to speed takes on a greater significance as the traditional August midweek fixtures begin tomorrow, with Albion taking on Shrewsbury Town at Montgomery Waters Meadow in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
“It’s another game and it’s a fast turnaround to have the game on a Tuesday,” Brayford added.
“It’s not a place we’re going to take lightly at all, you can see how well they did last year. We’ve got to take the positives out of the Gillingham game with how many chances we created - if we keep doing that then the goals are going to come eventually.”