PETE Batey says he wants to help ‘two or three’ players progress to the Glenavon first team every season.
The club’s new reserve team boss, who recently took over from Gerard McMahon, knows that his main task is to help his young players progress to the main stage, especially with Glenavon’s squad one of the smaller in the Danske Bank Premiership.
“We’ve got a lot of talented guys and if I can push two or three up to the first team a year then I’ll be happy,” he said.
“At some of the Belfast clubs, managing the reserve team can be a bit easier because they have bigger squads and you get players dropping down from the first team but at Glenavon we haven’t got that. If there’s a couple of injuries, I have to go down to the U18s or U16s to get players but as long as we can keep pushing them in the direction of the first team and helping them to progress as players, that’s the main thing.
“The attitude of the players has been first class since I came in. The kids have given everything and their work-rate has actually increased in the past while. I can’t ask for any more than that.”
Batey, of course, has a tough act to follow in the form of McMahon. The former NI international is a Glenavon icon and excelled in his job as reserve boss, helping a lot of players into the first team and also steering his side to lofty league finishes.
Batey is keen to continue that trend during his stay at the club and is also looking to continue on from McMahon’s professional attitude to the job. He said: “We’re trying to educate the players and to help them to grow up in a good football environment. We want the players to be tidy on and off the pitch and to turn up for matches looking tidy. They have to have pride in playing for the club, no matter what level it’s all.
“Results aren’t the be all and end all in reserve team football but I think they are important. If you get results, players will buy into what you’re saying. If you get beaten all the time, they’ll not have faith in what you’re saying.
“I also want to thank Gerdie (McMahon) for that great job he did at the club. I’m good friends with Gerdie and I know what a legend he is at the club. He was doing a good job but unfortunately for Glenavon he felt it was time that he moved on.”
The new boss already has his ideas as to which of his players will make the step up to the first team in the coming months but isn’t giving the fans any names to look out for:
“There are a few players but I’m not going to say who they are,” he said.
“The guys know that if they work hard on and off the pitch, they’ll get their chance at the club but equally, if they don’t work then those chances won’t come. We’ve got some great lads and some who are very young. We’ve got people in the reserves who are only 15.”
Batey, of course, has been at the club before as club captain and says he was pleased to return to Mourneview Park to work alongside his former Glentoran comrade, Gary Hamilton.
“I am delighted to be back,” he told the ‘MAIL.’
“Glenavon is a fantastic club with a great set-up and great people around it. Gary Hamilton has great ideas for the club too but it won’t happen overnight. He has great plans set out and those were a big part of my decision to come back into the game.
“After I left Glenavon the first time, I went on to be a coach with Scotty (Young) at Glentoran and I really enjoyed working at that side of things. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, it didn’t work out there but I was delighted to have the chance to come back into the game and to come back to Glenavon.”