Crawley Town manager Mark Yates wants to unearth some local gems as he rebuilds his team.
For years the club appear to have ignored the local scene in favour of players released from higher level clubs.
We are not football snobs who think players have to come from Premier League academies. We are more than happy to take players from the lower regions of non-league if they are good enough.”Crawley Town manager Mark Yates
No player from the Crawley area has appeared for Crawley Town’s first team since they joined the Football League four years ago.
However, Yates has given hope to Sussex born-and-bread players currently playing for locally-based clubs.
In January Ryman League South Division champions Burgess Hill sold striker Greg Luer to then Premier League club Hull City. He has since played in League One on loan for Port Vale.
Yates has said he is willing to consider players from Ryman League clubs, which also include even closer to home Three Bridges, because he likes their hunger to play full-time football.
Yates said: “We know Burgess Hill have got two or three promising players so we will be keeping an eye on them.
“We are not football snobs who think players have to come from Premier League academies. We are more than happy to take players from the lower regions of non-league if they are good enough.
“For me it doesn’t matter where they come from so that is definitely something we will be trying to exploit.”
Yates admitted he will be drawing on the local knowledge of his assistant manager Jimmy Dack who he revealed knows all the local managers.
He said: “Jimmy knows this area like the back of his hand so he will be invaluable in identifying what is out there.
“We will try to get one or two gems out of non-league. I love that as they have a different appetite for the game about themselves. Every day they can’t believe they are playing football for a living.
“They come in every day wanting to improve and it is great to have people like that around the camp.
“It is certainly something we will be stepping up because the resources we have got means we will have to lean on that a little bit more than in the past.
“You can get some real bargains if you know where to look. When I was at Newport we took a lad called Conor Washington who was playing at a level below Ryman Division One.
“At first it didn’t look like he had a chance of making it but he worked hard to improve and after signing him for £5,000 we then sold him for to Peterborough for £400,000.”
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