Cod Almighty | Article
1 July 2004
Left Town for Halifax, February 2004.
The boy come good. Released by Sheffield Wednesday, Young was signed to ply his trade in the reserves at first (like a number of other young players - see recent examples: Chris Thompson, Simon Ford, Chris Bolder), with one eye on him as possible first-team material at some indeterminable point in the future after a little nurturing.
Young made his debut alongside that gargantuan role model for all young centre-backs, Georges Santos, in the meaningless match at Reading in April 2003 (Town were already been relegated by the time of this fixture).
Recovering from the initial handicap of some comical facial fur sported in the squad pics for the 2002-03 season, Young went on to make 19 appearances in that campaign, initially as an indifferent stand-in left-back due to injuries to other players and his ability to use his left foot. Flitting in and out of the team, when fit, he was nominally a replacement for any of Darren Barnard, Tony Crane, Craig Armstrong, and even Simon Ford.
Nicky Law's arrival – and a switch to a cunning centre-back-laden formation – for the final third of the season saw Young given a regular berth. The player took his chance well, and such was the rise in his stock that the shoulder injury he sustained in the 4-4 draw at Chesterfield – a game in which the young musketeer was the stand-out performer, despite the goals conceded – was viewed as a considerable blow to Town's chances of staying up. Young just about recovered from that injury in time to make a brave (and desperate) appearance in the sorry final-day performance at Tranmere.
As one of the few survivors from last season's squad and Town's tight budgeting limiting the squad this season, Young should fancy his chances. His experience on the left and centre of defence should put him in good stead for Slade's tripartite backline. It's just whether a question of whether Russ sees it that way too.