GUISELEY centre-half Will Thornton has applauded the willingness of the club’s management team to give youth a chance this season.
Thornton, 21, is among a number of youngsters to be given first-team opportunities by joint managers Russ O’Neill and Marcus Bignot during the current National League North campaign. The Lions gained revenge over promotion hopefuls Bradford Park Avenue on New Year’s Day by winning 2-1, just under a week after suffering a 5-1 mauling at home to Mark Bower’s team.
The win at Horsfall Stadium leaves Guiseley 16th in the table ahead of Saturday’s visit from Leamington.
And Thornton believes the willingness of the club to give youngsters a chance to shine will only be of long-term benefit to the club.
“This is what the club are trying to do going forward,” said Thornton.
“There had been some good lads in the past here who hadn’t been given a chance, so it’s good for the fans to see kids being given game time in the first team.”
Thornton made his first-team debut under former boss Adam Lockwood last year but later gained valuable first-team experience elsewhere on loan, including at nearby Farsley, before returning to Nethermoor.
“When I made my debut, we were short at the time so Adam just threw me in,” added Thornton.
“I signed for the youth team when I was 16, then signed a first-team contract a couple of years later.
“Going out on loan gave me more first-team experience elsewhere and this year I’ve really tried to kick on.”