Local footballers will have the chance of their dream professional career with League Two side Crawley Town under new manager Mark Yates.
For years the club appear to have ignored the Sussex scene in favour of players released from higher level clubs - but Yates is looking to unearth some local gems in his reign at Reds.
No player from the Crawley area has appeared for Crawley Town’s first team since they joined the Football League four years ago.
However, Yates has given hope to Sussex born and bread players currently playing for locally based clubs.
In January, Ryman League South Division champions Burgess Hill sold striker Greg Luer to then Premier League club Hull City and he has since played in League One on loan for Port Vale.
Yates said: “We are not football snobs who think players have to come from Premier League academies. We are more than happy to take players from the lower regions of non-league if they are good enough.
“For me it doesn’t matter where they come from so that is definitely something we will be trying to exploit.”
Yates will be drawing on the local knowledge of assistant manager Jimmy Dack. He said: “Jimmy knows this area like the back of his hand so he will be invaluable in identifying what is out there.
“We will try to get one or two gems out of non-league. I love that as they have a different appetite for the game about themselves. Every day they can’t believe they are playing football for a living.
“They come in every day wanting to improve and it is great to have people like that around the camp.
“It is certainly something we will be stepping up because the resources we have got means we will have to lean on that a little bit more than in the past.
“You can get some real bargains if you know where to look. When I was at Newport we took a lad called Conor Washington who was playing at a level below Ryman Division One.
“At first it didn’t look like he had a chance of making it but he worked hard to improve and after signing him for £5,000 we then sold him to Peterborough for £400,000.”
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