12:00am Friday 27th September 2013
DARLINGTON Mowden Park backs coach John Newton insists the club will continue to put their faith in their performing young guns as they look to make it three wins on the spin against Harrogate.
With an average age of between 20 and 21, the club has been blooding its youngsters this season, with hooker Ross White, at the ripe old age of just 24, the oldest Mowden player on the pitch in last weekend's SSE National League 2 North win over Bromsgrove.
Part of this has been brought on by a wretched run of injuries that has left eight players, including experience number eight Talite Vailoleti, on the treatment table.
The 30-year-old, who has played at Championship sides Rotherham and Jersey, is expected to return within a few weeks, alongside a couple of other keys players.
But with his players losing just one of their three games this season, Newton warned his returnees they would face a fight for the shirt.
"The lads who have started the season have been fantastic," said Newton. "It's a competition, if they are playing well then they will keep their place. Those that are coming back from injury will have to work hard to get back. It's healthy for us.
"We have a very young squad but we have a lot of faith in them.
"We have worked with them over the last few years and they have come up the ranks. If they are good enough to play then they will, and we think they are.
"Last weekend we had a whole new back row playing but they all did fantastic.
"I still think there is a lot more to come from the boys. This year is a strong league, with a lot of teams in the mix."
Having seen off Bromsgrove 48-21, the club hit the road on Saturday to head to Harrogate.
The North Yorkshire side have yet to claim a win this season, but despite the difference in form, Newton explained his side would not be taking their opponents for granted.
"Harrogate will be a tough test for us," he added. "They like the throw the ball around and are quite similar to us in that they have got a lot of young lads in the team but it should be a good team.
"They've had an unlucky start to the season and have missed out in a few games by a few points.
"We look at the results each weekend and you can never put your finger on any other the scores, anyone can beat anyone on the day.
"We will be going there with the right attitude, if we don't we will get turned over."
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