Neil Baker says that non-league gems still exist
Neil Baker says he gets just as much enjoyment seeing a young player plucked from the non-league make the grade as one of our own. The club’s assistant manager has a track record of bringing in players from the non-league scene and seeing them prosper in our first-team. Baker has in the past taken a chance on the likes of Luke Varney, Steve Jones, John Brayford and before them Wayne Collins and Tony Naylor go on to have successful careers.
The latest non-league acquisition Jon Guthrie made 25 appearances last season after being plucked from Wiltshire based Pewsey Vale in July 2012.
Baker told the club’s official web-site: “There is still a market in the non-league. Our days of signing players from the higher reaches of the Conference are probably over as everyone will be watching them but lower down, it is still an area we look at.
“There are some good players in the non-league and they are hungry to succeed. Sometimes they pay off and sometimes they don’t. It is always a gamble but that is the case with every signing you make.
“We get a lot of enjoyment when we see someone like Jon come through. It is like he is one of our own and you get a lot of satisfaction when you give a young player from the non-league a chance. Jon came from nowhere really and it is a great story.
“He has made a remarkable step up and had a great second half of the season for us. The non-league is something we will always try and tap into it because there is potential there. Jon is an example of that.
“He has come here, worked hard and wants to be a success. That is great credit to him.”