King’s Lynn Town issue hands-off warning as Downham Town make cheeky approach for starlet Stocker
- Credit: IAN BURT
Highly-rated Linnets youngster Shaun Stocker has been the subject of a cheeky approach from Downham Town.
The Thurlow Nunn First Division club, who play two levels below King's Lynn Town, made an ambitious swoop to secure the services of the teenage midfielder earlier this week.
Downham boss Pete Brassett had hoped to try and convince the 16-year-old to join his young squad rather than play for Lynn's reserves in Peterborough Division One. But he didn't get the chance after Linnets' first-team boss Gary Setchell insisted one of West Norfolk's most promising players was going nowhere.
The Lynn boss said: 'Shaun's made great strides this season. Joff (Jonathan Hawes, reserve manager) and Coey (assistant) deserve credit for giving him an opportunity in men's football. He's adapted to it very well and has also done unbelievably well with the England College side.
'He'll be training with the first team, as will Luke Biles, for the rest of the season. We'll look at the opportunity of them travelling with us for games, getting on the bench, and look to try and give them some minutes, if we can, like we did with Ryan Fryatt 18 months ago.
'I've had a conversation with his (Shaun's) dad and he's happy for us to take it slowly. There's no point catapulting him in and ruining him. Shaun realises he's at the right club and although I'm not scared to throw in younger players, like Ryan, and Alex Street, he's only 16.'
Former Clenchwarton youth-team player Stocker has made just two appearances for Setchell's side this season but has already been tipped as a star of the future.
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The College of West Anglia student has earned international honours and enjoyed a trial with professional club Peterborough United this term and Brassett admits he would love to sign players of his calibre for Downham.
'It shows my ambition to want to bring the best young local players into the football club. I know it was a bit of a cheeky approach,' said Brassett.
'I know Shaun's quite highly-rated at King's Lynn. But he plays at Step Eight (for Lynn reserves), we're at Step Six and Lynn play at Step Four. I hoped we could help aid his progression. I spoke to Gary and he said 'it's not going to happen'. I did it the right way. I made contact with the football club and I haven't spoken to the player. I hope Shaun hits the heights and gets chances at Lynn.'
A dual-registration deal, which would allow Stocker to play for Lynn, their reserves, and Downham – because they play in different leagues and levels of the non-league ladder, also looks unlikely. Brassett says it is an agreement he would consider in the future if it benefited all parties.