Stephen Crainey's crop preparing for the big step up at Fleetwood Town

Fleetwood Town’s development squad head coach Stephen Crainey is backing the current crop to emulate those who went before them and cement first- team spots.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 8:00 am

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In recent years, there has been an influx of first- team players from the Highbury academy, with James Hill and Harrison Holgate two key players in the defence last season.

They were regulars in Simon Grayson’s back three, with Hill also linked to Premier League sides.

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Defender James Hill is among the successful graduates from Stephen Crainey's development squad at Fleetwood Town

For Crainey, it is simply about getting the players in the academy ready to make the step up.

He said: “In previous years, we’ve had Hill, Holgate, Jay Matete, Shayden Morris – they’ve all been part of the first team. I’m sure the group underneath can push and progress like them, and hopefully sign for the club in the future as well.

“There’s a lot of quality in the group and hopefully a few of them can threaten the first team at some point.

“My remit is to get the players prepped for that next step and that’s what we will hopefully do.

“It’s an exciting season for me and all the staff to coach these lads and we’ll see where we can get them to.”

When it comes to preparing for the season ahead, Crainey will take a leaf out of first-team head coach Grayson’s book to ensure his charges are ready.

There is also no such thing as an easy time under Crainey, who is constantly striving to get the most out of the youngsters.

He said: “I’m going to integrate whatever the first- team staff are working on and implement that straight into the lads, so it will make that transition up to the first team a bit smoother for them.

“I’ll be following their programme and will prep them for those first team opportunities.

“It’s good that we’ve got five or six games over pre-season, with loads of variations in there. I will push these players to the limit and see where they can all get to.

“I’m sure there will be a good few in the group wo step up and it will be interesting to see who.

“I want to install a winning mentality into these lads from day one. At the end of the day, I’m prepping them to play for three points on a Saturday.

“Although these games are classed as friendlies, we don’t play any friendly games at Fleetwood. All of the games are going to be treated with respect to whoever we are playing ,but I want my lads to be going at it every single minute of every game and in training also.”

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