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Underwood wants Rebels to find the next Sam Barratt

Slough Town are keen to get a better handle on good young local players emerging from the lower leagues of non-league football and will be offering them a chance to show off their skills in trials at Arbour Park this month.

The club is keen to hear from players plying their trade at steps 3-5 of the non-league pyramid and, having recently employed former Windsor boss Mick Woodham and Paul Barry as scouts, the Rebels are keen to unearth quality players in the mould of Dan Roberts, or even Sam Barratt, who moved from Bracknell Town to Maidenhead United before going on to play in the football league.

The trials will be held on Thursday, April 29, and joint manager Jon Underwood estimates the club has already had more than 150 applications from hopeful young players.

“What this is really about is us getting a better handle on good, young, local players,” said Jon Underwood. “It will be an opportunity to see some of those in a trial game at the end of the month and it may give us a short list of players to keep on our radar or to track when the season starts.

“A list that our scouts can go and watch in competitive games, because there’s only so much you can pick up from a trial. We’re hoping there might be a player or two we can then bring in for pre-season training and have a look at them there, or in friendlies. There may be others that we feel aren’t quite ready yet, but we want to keep an eye on. It’s about that next group of players further down the line.

“We’ve got a relatively experienced squad and over time we will want to bring in newer, younger and fresher players. I’d guess that we’ve had more than 150 applications so far. The hard part is sifting through all of those and to pick out the ones we think are worth looking at. We will probably bring around 25 in for the trial. There’s also one or two players that we know through third parties that we’ve spoken to who we have invited down.

“It’s a mixture really but what we’re looking for are young, ambitious, hungry players and there is no shortage of those. It’s just finding out which ones are capable of stepping up. Some are looking to step up four leagues, it’s quite a jump. They all think they can do it, which is great, but we’ll have to judge that ourselves and we’re looking forward to it.”

The Rebels management team cast their eye over Slough’s u23s team last week after their return to training following the easing of lockdown restrictions. Underwood believes there’s also plenty of talent in that set-up as well, but he wants the club to cast its net a bit wider to find a few more hidden gems.

“There are players who have come good in recent years locally,” he said. “Sam Barratt is a good example. Before he went to Maidenhead, he was in the development team at Bracknell. He rose through the leagues very quickly and we very nearly signed him, just before he went to Maidenhead the first time.

“We regretted not picking him up a year earlier and that is what this is about with the scouting and the trials. It’s to try and find, not the next Sam Barratt, but that type of player who can rise through the leagues. Dan Roberts is a good example of a player who rose very quickly through those leagues and those players are out there. We want to give ourselves the best chance of finding them.

“Slough is a big club in the area and a club that young lads aspire to play for.”

To apply email managers@sloughtownfc.net and include your name, date of birth, preferred position(s) and details of your playing history over the past three seasons.”

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