Fulham coach McKinlay expects big things from Ashton

Fulham reserves boss Billy McKinlay expects fullback Nathan Ashton to be pressing for first team action next season.

McKinlay told fulhamfc.com: "Last season was always going to be a big ask for any of the young players, firstly because of the amount of players that came into the squad - then with the change of manager and the high stakes towards the tail end of the season, it was understandably difficult for the younger players to get into the team."

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With the likes of Adrian Leijer, Adam Watts and TJ Moncur all aiming to jump from the Development Squad into the First Team Squad, McKinlay confirmed that Ashton will have a similar target.

"He falls into the same category as the rest of the young players," he said. "We'll assess him pre-season and see where he fits into the bigger picture. The young guys have to show that they're up to it, so this next period of time will be very important for them.

"It's vital that they know the First Team is a real possibility, because if you've not got an incentive, it can affect your drive and determination. Ultimately the players have to take on board the fact that their future is in their own hands. They have to play well, show the right attitude in training and try to impress the people that count.

"The Manager's background in terms of his development of players and his coaching means that young players will get into the team if they're good enough.

"Last year was a really difficult one for the Club for obvious reasons and the youngsters didn't have much of a chance but that's when you see the real winners in the group - hopefully two or three of them will step up to the plate."

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