Whitby Town boss Chris Hardy has encouraged more young players to step up and challenge themselves after Junior Mondal netted his first Forest Green Rovers goal on Saturday.
Mondal arrived at the Turnbull Ground after his release from Middlesbrough, shone in the Evo-Stik Premier and sealed a move to the League Two outfit in January.
Despite there being a clear path visible, Hardy admits he’s had a frustrating time trying to persuade players to make the step up in levels and join the Blues, incredibly admitting he spoke to over 50 players during a testing summer of recruitment.
“I was brought up to push myself and to try and play at the highest level possible, and now my goals have changed to wanting to coach at the highest level I can,” said Hardy.
“It seems now that when it comes down to knuckling down, rolling up your sleeves and testing yourself, that young players would rather play it safe.
“We won’t bring in any Tom, Dick or Harry to Whitby Town. We have a thorough recruitment strategy where players are scouted, usually more than once, and reported on.
“We spoke to a huge number players in the summer, most of those playing in the Northern League, but it is becoming difficult to get players to show the ambition to step up the levels and challenge themselves.”
Hardy has managed at Teesside League, Wearside League, Northern League Division Two and Division One level, and believes more players should be showing the desire to step up to the Evo-Stik Premier Division.
“We’re not talking about bringing in players to make up a 22-man squad and sit on the bench here,” added Hardy.
“We give young players ample playing time and they get the chance to improve and impress clubs from many leagues above, who respect the level we are playing at.
“While we don’t actively encourage our best players to leave, we certainly don’t stand in their way when opportunities present themselves.