QUENTIN Townsend is backing teenagers Cameron Mathewson and Mitch Butterworth to provide Pershore Town with another injection of youthful exuberance.
The Town manager is building on the core of the team which ended last term with an array of talented youngsters ahead of the Midland League Division One season, which starts on August 5.
Mathewson, a midfielder who was with Cheltenham Town academy, and Worcester-based flying front-runner Butterworth have just turned 17, but they have already slotted into the Town ranks in pre-season training.
Townsend has also confirmed University of Worcester youngsters Jordan Hayward, a left back, and midfielder Joe Bevan will be part of his plans while Worcester-based forward Rich Smith, who has played for Worcester Raiders and Bromyard Town, has also signed ahead of the first home friendly against Worcester City on Saturday.
With the likes of skipper Shaun Griffiths, Dane Aldington, Dean Waldron and Ben Lane already committed to Town’s campaign, Townsend says the new faces have already settled positively as pre-season training cranks up.
“I’m still looking at players but if I have to start this season with what I’ve got I won’t be disappointed,” said Townsend.
“We’ve brought in a few young players and they haven’t looked out of place. You can see Cameron has had a good grounding at Cheltenham and Mitch is unbelievably rapid. They will add a lot of energy and a lot of naivety but that’s something we can work on.
“Rich has been around and I think his signing is a good bit of business for us. He is a strong, tough centre forward and he knows how to play the game.
“The hard core of the team which ended the season is still here and they’ve been really welcoming to the new lads. The spirit is something we will build on.”
Townsend admitted last weekend’s friendly – a 2-1 defeat to Alcester Town with a debut goal for Smith – was a performance with few positives, but it did offer the chance to assess an experimental line-up.
There will be more of a first team feeling to tomorrow’s clash with City, with a bumper crowd expected at King George V Stadium. Townsend enjoys a close friendship with City joint bosses John Snape and Lee Hughes, helping out each other on a regular basis.
“I talk to Snapper every other day and I’ve got a good relationship with Lee,” said Townsend. “It’s going to be a good test for us and hopefully there’ll be a good crowd there.”
Meanwhile, Town have been paired with Whitchurch Alport from Shropshire in the opening stages of the FA Vase.
Town will travel to the North West Counties League Division One side on September 9 in first round qualifying.
Pershore will also face an extra team in Midland League Division One after the league confirmed Ilkeston Town have been added.
The Derbyshire side are a phoenix club, after the now defunct Ilkeston, who were relegated from the Northern Premier League Premier in April, went into liquidation. It leaves the division with 22 clubs.