New Belper Town goalkeeper Mark Rathbone will learn a lot from Danny Haystead, says boss Jim Albans.
Belper born Rathbone, 18, has played for the club’s youth teams in the past and signed forms on Saturday morning (July 18) after impressing during a training session.
Rathbone is expected to play regularly for the under-21s side to gain experience to assist his development, while also challenging Haystead for the number one spot.
Albans said: “He will be training with one of the best goalkeepers at this level, if not the level above, in Danny Haystead. Danny gave him glowing compliments after Saturday morning’s training session.
“He is a good lad to push Danny and is perfect back up for him. Mark will play regular football for the under-21s and will be there if Danny picks up any injuries.
“It will be tough for him (Mark) to take Danny’s number one spot but he has got to be ambitious, work hard and make sure he pushes Danny in every training session.”
Albans is keen to get two players competing for every position as he plots Belper’s challenge to bounce straight back in to the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division.
And Rathbone fits the bill.
The Nailers manager added: “In an ideal world the more local people you get playing for the football club the more interest there is in Belper Town as a whole.
“And, as I have said before, if someone is good enough they are old enough, so there is no reason why he cannot play.”
The move sees Rathbone, who has also played for Belper United and the Derbyshire’s county team, take his first steps in to full-time men’s football.
He said: “Obviously delighted to have signed for Belper Town being as I have always lived there and it is a great opportunity to play at a higher level.
“I have seen the set up down at the club and I was really impressed, it is the perfect place for me to start, going into men’s football full-time.
“He’s building a young team trying to bring players through from the under-21s and under-18s sides, also trying to sign more local lads which makes it easier for me to fit in.”
Belper travel to play Borrowash Victoria this coming Saturday (July 25) and host League One opposition in Chesterfield the following Wednesday (July 29).
They took on Evo-Stik Northern Premier side Matlock Town at Causeway Lane last night (Tuesday, July 21). For the latest click on to www.belpernews.co.uk.