Dickens expects Saints’ young guns to raise the bar at Franklin’s Gardens

BIG FUTURE AHEAD - Saints youngster Tom Stephenson (pictures: Linda Dawson)
BIG FUTURE AHEAD - Saints youngster Tom Stephenson (pictures: Linda Dawson)

Alan Dickens is confident Saints’ impressive crop of youngsters will step up another level to drive the club on to further glory this season.

Ethan Waller, Tom Stephenson and Tom Collins were among a pool of players who progressed hugely at Franklin’s Gardens during the previous campaign.

Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140420-204929006

Pictures by Linda Dawson NNL-140420-204929006

They plugged the gap left by injured senior stars and helped propel Saints to silverware in both the Amlin Challenge Cup and Aviva Premiership.

Dickens couldn’t have been more impressed with their performances and is backing the young guns to do it all again in the forthcoming campaign.

“It was a massive positive last year with the players that came through,” said Dickens, who stepped up from his role as Academy coach to help mentor the first team when Paul Grayson departed in November, 2012.

“There was massive competition in the squad and there were plenty of young lads who had a taste of it last year, with Tom Stephenson, Will Hooley, Tom Collins, Ethan Waller, Ben Nutley and others.

“They’ll be working their hardest throughout pre-season in the matches and at the start of the season to get a chance.

“It was a massive positive for the squad last year and one of the reasons we were where we were at the end of the season.”