Three of the club’s most promising youth players have agreed contracts with the club for next season. Dylan Gifford, Ross Barclay and James Waters have all committed their futures to the Rooks, as Darren Freeman looks to promote players from our talented youth set-up.
Dylan Gifford has been in the first-team squad on a number of occasions this season, and is currently dual-registered with Eastbourne United, where he’s gaining valuable first-team experience. He’s been a regular for Steve Eke’s Development Squad this season, as well as one of the leading lights for our under-18s.
Ross Barclay has also been on the fringes of the first team. He too is dual-registered with a County League side, Saltdean Utd, where he plays with former Rooks such as Jamie Brotherton and Matt Hurley. Ross is the captain of the Under-18s side and has also featured for the Development Squad throughout the season.
James Waters joined the Rooks from Whitehawk earlier in the season, where he made a number of first-team appearances. He’s trained with the first-team squad at Lewes and has been a regular goalscorer for Dale Hurley’s Under-18s, including a hat-trick in last night’s 5-0 win over Eastbourne Borough.
Darren is pleased to have secured the signatures of all three players. “The boys we’ve offered contracts to have worked extremely hard,” said Darren.
“Dylan and Ross have been in and around the first team and we felt that it would only be right to reward them. James is someone that we saw last pe-season and we kept our eye on him. James became available halfway through the season and we signed him. He’s big, strong and powerful and we feel we can work with him, and to proress him to be a very good player, along with the other two boys.”
Darren says the contracts should act as an incentive to other young players at the club. “We love local players,” said Darren. “Ronnie, Harry and Charlie came through our youth teams and are now established first-team players. If the 18s players work hard, this shows they will get a chance.”