Pic: Andy Nunn
PAUL FAIRCLOUGH has told his England C newbies to seize their chance and show the talent pool in Non-League football is deep.
The manager has picked an experimental 18-man squad for a C friendly with Panjab FA at Solihull Moors later this month, before the same side travel to Jersey to for an FA representative match.
It’s an opportunity for some new faces to force their way into Fairclough’s plans ahead of their International Challenge Trophy final game with Slovakia U21 next season.
With mainstays Alex Woodyard, Sean Raggett and Sam Habergham now ineligible following their promotion with Lincoln City, and others likely to follow them into the Football League, there are places to be filled.
“The squad is made up of players who have still got a chance next season,” Fairclough said. “Take Callum Howe at Lincoln. He’s a terrific centre-half but with the form of Luke Waterfall and Sean Raggett, he’s hardly had a look in.
“I’ve included players like him as I don’t know whether he’ll be retained by Lincoln or not, but he was bang on it and told us straightaway he wanted to play.
“It’s not a trial, but it’s an opportunity for these players to be firmly in my mind for next season. I’m looking forward to seeing all of them up close.”
The alumni of England C capped players now playing in the Premier League and Football League is a long one. And Fairclough admits he’s been watching the exploits of Burnley’s Andre Gray and Hull City midfielder Sam Clucas – who both played in Bermuda in 2013 – with pride.
“It’s fantastic [to see them perform the way they are],” Fairclough said. “These new lads can look up to players like that.”