The new management team at Nethermoor have kept their promise to take stock of the club’s Academy players and promote to the first team when young talent has proved its worth over the summer months of training and pre-season games.
After Academy graduates Will Thornton and Scott Smith had their contracts renewed earlier in the summer and were named in the first team squad three of the club’s younger prospects have now signed first team forms.
Goalkeeper Fletcher Paley, midfielder Jack Lazenby and defender Luke Hogg have all signed up this week.
They, along with Smith, were members of the academy team that made such an impression last season by winning their divisional title in the National League and then progressing to the Champion of Champions final where they were narrowly beaten.
They also won the FA’s VAR Tournament at St George’s Park winning all eight games played and conceding just one goal.
Paley, 18, from Otley has progressed through the academy system at Nethermoor after flirting with Rugby League as a Hunslet Warriors player.
He was first registered as a first team player back in January when Jonny Maxted’s move to Accrington Stanley was mooted.
The former Lions stopper was a spectator at Tuesday’s home game against Chorley.
Paley will now compete with Joe Green and Jon Worsnop for the number one jersey.
Defender Lazenby, 18, joined The Lions academy set up at the age of 16 and has impressed in training with the first team squad.
Approaching his 18th birthday fellow defender Luke Hogg is another to have impressed the management in pre-season.
He too joined the academy at the age of 16 after spending nine years with Doncaster Rovers from the age of seven.
He was the academy Player-of-the-Year last season.
All three players have developed under the tutelage of Academy Head Coach Dave Currie. Joint First Team Manager Marcus Bignot said: “One of our intentions once arriving in the job was to build communication and have a rapport with the Academy staff and develop a clear pathway for Academy players development into the first team.”
“Since our arrival we’ve really been impressed with the work that’s gone into the recruiting and development of the Academy and the season they just had and the standard of player within the set-up.”
“Dave Currie’s input has been so important to us and with that we have brought into the first team environment half a dozen scholars who have participated in our pre-season programme.”
“We are pleased to announce that a number of those players from that group have signed on forms for the forthcoming season with the first team.”
“The development plan for these boys will be to still gain experience and education both on and off the pitch within the academy model but also be in and around the first team environment to further their development as footballers and good people during the season.”
“We have seen Scott Smith come out of his third year at Academy level and gain his first Semi-Pro contract this summer, following in the footsteps of Will Thornton before him who has come through the system.”
“To have two ex-Academy graduates in the first team squad is a shining light for those entering into the third year that there is a clear pathway.”
“Both Will and Scott have been out on loan to gain much needed experience prior and we see that as an important part in their pathway into the first team squad for those in the Academy system moving forward.”
“On behalf of the management and football club we wish them all a successful and happy time here at Guiseley AFC and look forward in readiness when we hear from the terraces the chant ‘He’s one of our Own’.”