Who are they? Lewis Dobbin will be the most familiar name but a lot of supporters will not have seen much or anything of the other two youngsters, centre back Reece Welch or midfielder Isaac Price.
For those fans that have not seen much of them I’ll give my view as I have seen a lot of them over the last two or three seasons as they have progressed from the Under 18 squad to become regulars for the under 23s.
What we can expect from Lewis Dobbin — who has already had some minutes with the first team — can be summed up as pace, trickery, stamina and complete a lack of fear. I have followed his progress keenly since I first saw him as a wide player for the youth teams. Fans, like myself, who had seen him at the age of 16 might have expected his progress to be even quicker than it has been. He had some long term injuries which disrupted his playing time and that transition from boy to man. He probably still has much to improve. Dobbin has flitted between playing as a sole striker, part of a front two and also wide either side of the main striker(s).
For my money his pace and trickery suggests that longer term his role might be wide of the main striker where he is not the subject of the buffeting that comes with that role. Not that he is incapable of withstanding rough treatment. I have previously compared him to fellow Midlands-born striker James Vaughan who played nearly 50 times for the club between 2005 and 2011. They’re different players, Vaughan was around 5’11 and strong in the air whereas Lewis Dobbin at 5’9 relies more on pace. The real similarity is that they are/ were both fearless in their approach. If I was a burly opposition defender on Thursday night I’d think twice about trying to kick Dobbin out of the game. It won’t work!
Whilst he isn’t a traditional winger he has a good habit of leaving defenders flat-footed as he forcefully attacks the penalty area. A fair chance that he might be involved in a few penalty decisions as his pace will take him past players. Good luck Lewis!
Reece Welch, regular centre back for the Under 23s this season has been the subject of much interest for the past few years. Former Director of Football Marcel Brands, in particular, held him as a shining example of the youth setup and forecast a big future for the young Yorkshireman who has been with the club since the age of 7. Standing around 6’4, he has physically developed over the last 12 to 18 months especially and this season looks really capable of holding his own at senior level. The initial promise shown has now become a standard level of performance from Welch this year. He is more accustomed to playing right of a three-man defence but looks just as accomplished playing right side of a centre two. He is quick across the ground and reads the game impressively. Good in the air as you might expect I have been especially impressed by his tackling, some of them last-ditch challenges where he is brave in our own penalty area. Good luck Reece if you get your chance!
Isaac Price is around 6’ tall and although slight of build he is strong and fearless in the tackle. Probably more of a #8 positionally, he has impressed this season going forward and also dropping back to defend. He has recently played as a #6 following the loan departure of Lewis Warrington and has looked at home there as well. If he does get minutes against Boreham Wood keep an eye out for him in the opposition half as he is not afraid to have a crack at goal, and has a good volley technique especially. Price’s most impressive qualities are his passing accuracy and positivity, his work-rate and he’s no slouch moving with the ball either. Good luck Isaac!