“These are good signs for us” – Colchester United boss Tony Humes
Colchester United face a tough four months ahead, trying to escape the clutches of relegation for a third year running.
And yet the future, beyond this campaign, continues to look rosy for the Essex club, with the regular blooding of new youthful talent.
Dion Sembie-Ferris and Tom Lapslie became the latest U’s teenagers to make their senior debuts, during last Friday night’s 3-1 defeat at Cardiff City in the FA Cup.
Both came on as substitutes, during the second period, and both can be satisfied with their debut performances.
Lapslie, 19, looked at home, in the centre of the park during the last half-hour of the game, while Sembie-Ferris caused quite a stir during his few minutes on the pitch.
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Attacking winger Sembie-Ferris gave City left-back Declan Jordan an awkward time, and was unlucky not to win a penalty late on when appearing to be tugged back on the edge of the six-yard box.
“We again had a lot of young players out there, with Tom (Lapslie) and Dion (Sembie-Ferris) coming on for their first taste of competitive senior football,” explained manager Tony Humes.
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“They both relished it and they both did really well. These are good signs for us, going forward.
“It’s great for those young players to test themselves, at Championship clubs. You look at coming to these sort of grounds, at ex-Premier League clubs, hoping to give some youngsters a chance by blooding them, to give them that opportunity.
“Tom came on and I thought looked very comfortable with what he was doing.
“And I gave Dion the last few minutes. He too was very positive and took the game by the scruff of the neck.
“We want players at this football club who are going to take us forward, and make things happen on the pitch, so credit to these two players.”
Sembie-Ferris, in particular, could be a useful attacking weapon towards the end of this season.
The 18-year-old was recruited from non-league football in November, 2013, from St Neots Town, and has since progressed through the U’s under-18s and under-21 development squad.
“Dion has only been with the club for just over a year,” continued Humes.
“It’s still new to him, this football day-in, day-out, with the professional side of it.
“He’s training with the first team every day and he is getting better. He just needs to have that confidence and the belief that he can do it.
“We have a lot of young players coming through, and given the opportunity who knows where they will go?” added Humes.
The U’s are away at Peterborough United this Saturday.