Hitchin Town boss praises youngsters

PUBLISHED: 17:20 27 January 2016 | UPDATED: 17:20 27 January 2016

Mark Burke

Mark Burke

Archant

Mark Burke watched his young Hitchin Town side knock Biggleswade Town out of the Red Insure Cup – and then declared that if they continue playing as well as they did on Monday they will soon be banging on his door looking for first-team football.

The Canaries beat their local rivals 2-0 to book their place in the last eight of the competition thanks to an own goal and a late strike from MK Dons loanee Dominic Palmiero.

It was a squad that contained a number of teenagers including Will Wright, Liam Brooks, Kieran Barnes and Tyrone Mulholland, and Burke says he was feeling a lot happier following the result which came just days after the league defeat at Slough Town.

Monday’s victory also saw a first start for the club for new signing Callum Riley, while Stuart Pearson, the defender, also played after a recent injury.

“This was a great opportunity for me to see what they’ll be like playing at this level and they did not disappoint,” says Burke.

“Callum and Dom made their debuts for me.

“Kieran came on. He’s on the college programme over at Baldock. He made his debut against Sun Sports and did well there and I was pleased with him again [against Biggleswade].

“Tyrone is another on the college programme and he has got a lot of talent and ability, and if he keeps his head right and has the right attitude, likewise with Barnes, then he’ll be knocking on the door of the first team.

“Will Wright was very good, he’s still only 18.

“MJ (Michael Johnson, aged 22), the keeper, was solid. It was a young team and they did well.”

Hitchin have lost their last two league games and head to Paulton Rovers this weekend one place outside of the Southern Premier play-offs.

Burke, though, believes the match may have come too early for Pearson.

“I thought we might get 45 minutes out of him but then at half-time he wasn’t feeling so bad,” the Hitchin boss said.

“We said ‘see how you get on and if you get an hour we’ll be pleased’, but he seemed to get stronger as the game went on. He won some headers and strong tackles

“He’s a lot closer to a comeback than I thought, but saying that we’ll see how he is on Thursday as it might have taken a lot out of him.”

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