Dec 31 2010 By Jon Batham
FROM Jermaine Beckford to Kieron Forbes, Wealdstone is becoming a production line for players to get back into professional football.
And according to boss Gordon Bartlett, the latter might not be the last of the class of 2011.
Beckford fought back from rejection by Chelsea as a youngster to serve his football apprenticeship with Stones, before arriving at Everton via Leeds United and a loan spell with Scunthorpe.
And Kieron Forbes joined the ex-Stones striker in making the trip back to the professional ranks this week when he signed for Conference side Forest Green Rovers.
Bartlett, who coaxed both back to the road to stardom, believes similar journeys may lie ahead for others in his squad who have had a taste of life in the full-time ranks.
He said: "Jermaine wasn’t a regular for a couple of seasons and neither was Marvin McCoy but look where they are now.
"We have some good young players who will have little dips in form - it’s a fact of life. What you have got to do is trust them - we’ve done that and now we are getting the rewards."
Kurtney Brooks, Alex Dyer and James Hammond (Colchester) are another trio hoping to follow in the footsteps of Beckford, McCoy, Forbes and co in making the journey back to the professional game.
Brooks is a classic case in point.
An ex-Watford trainee just like Forbes, Brooks struggled to cement a place in the Stones’ boiler room after arriving in the summer, but is showing the potential that has seen him capped at U19 level for Wales.
And Dyer (Northampton) and Hammond in turn are making strides forward again after adjusting to life outside the professional ranks.
"Kurtney has grown up a lot in the last few weeks after being in and out of the team," added Bartlett.
Players can find it difficult adjusting from youth and reserve team football which is technical but not very competitive, to the physicality of the Ryman league, which is results-driven.
"Alex Dyer too got criticised early on in the season and he’s bounced back and looks a good player.
"And James Hammond is the
latest one who has just come into the side playing at a different level and he’s adjusted well to the pace of it."
On Forbes’ departure Bartlett added: "As with all our young players, we try to help their careers and give them the platform to go on to bigger and better things and Kieron deserves this opportunity."