CENTRE-back Liam Wakefield is hoping to follow the trail blazed by left-back James Husband after putting pen to paper on a one-year deal with Doncaster Rovers this week.
Husband, who signed a 30-month contract midway through the season, forced his way into Dean Saunders’ side in the closing weeks of the campaign and started the last three games.
“The fact that James made it into the first team has given us all a big confidence boost,” said the 6’ 3” tall defender.
“He was one of us last season so to watch him play on the big stage has certainly left me thinking: ‘that could be me next season.’
“He played in the Football Alliance Cup final when we beat Exeter 4-0 in the final at the end of the season.
“That game highlighted how strong last season’s youth team was because we knew that they were a good side and I don’t think anybody expected us to go down there and win by that sort of score in the final.”
A central midfielder earlier in his teens, Wakefield made rapid progress during his two year stint in the youth team working under Head of Youth Football Paul Wilson and manager Paul Stancliffe.
But he knows that he still has more to learn if he is to make the difficult transition.
“Obviously there are still things I need to work on including organisation and communication,” he told The Star. “That was one of my roles in the youth team but I know that I will have to step up a level if I want to play in the first team.
“The fact that there will be seven players on the bench again next season should give me and some of the other former youth team lads more of a chance of being involved in either a League Cup or Johnstone’s Paint Trophy game. But I know that in order to get a chance I’m going to have to play well in the pre-season games.”
Chairman John Ryan admitting last week that the club wouldn’t be reviving their reserve team next season, Wakefield expects to spend time on loan in order to both get games under his belt and to further develop his career.
Rovers have announced ticket prices of £10 and £1 (concessions) for their three pre-season games against Sheffield Wednesday, Hull City and Barnsley.
Ticket prices for the Capital One Cup first round tie against York City are £10 and £5.
Rovers have handed teenage goalkeeper Jon Maxted his first professional contract.
Maxted was part of last season’s successful youth team, while he also featured on the bench for the first team on seven occasions.