Cobblers boss Boothroyd happy to carry on giving youth its chance

RECORD SALE - goalkeeper Mark Bunn was a Cobblers trainee
RECORD SALE - goalkeeper Mark Bunn was a Cobblers trainee

AIDY BOOTHROYD has told every scholar in the Cobblers youth system that they will be considered for first-team selection regardless of their age if they are deemed good enough.

Town sold youth-team graduate Michael Jacobs to Derby County in what was the latest big-money sale of a player who has come through the junior system at Sixfields.

In recent years, defender Luke Chambers and goalkeeper Mark Bunn have been sold for six-figure fees, with the sum the club pocketed from Blackburn Rovers for Bunn their current transfer record.

Although he was not a Town trainee, midfielder Brad Johnson also commanded a £250,000 price tag when he was bought by Leeds United three years ago.

The money received for Jacobs will go towards balancing the books at a club where revenue remains tight, and his rise to the npower Championship will also serve as a good example to the youngsters at Sixfields that they can achieve similar successes.

But as well as the financial incentives associated with youth development, Boothroyd – who was a youth coach at Peterborough United and Norwich City in his first roles after retiring from playing – wants the system to produce a steady stream of first-team players.

“When you bring a player through, it gives the staff a lift, it gives the supporters a lift and it gives me a lift because you’ve got players there who are hungry and want to prove a point,” he said.

“I always like to give them a chance because if they are good enough they are old enough, and they’ll go in the team.”

Jacobs blossomed in the Town first team, initially under Ian Sampson but latterly under Boothroyd but countless coaches can take credit for nurturing him during his formative years at Northampton.

Boothroyd said everyone from the youth structure can feel satisfied with the job they did in producing the midfielder, who will start the forthcoming season in the second tier of English football.

“That (youth coaching) is my background and I believe strongly in youth development,” said the Cobblers boss.

“The hours that the coaching team in the youth put in very often gets overlooked.

“They work extremely hard and it is always very rewarding when they get a player through and I’m hoping that another couple can come through.”