The club are very proud of our player pathway, and on Wednesday night at Bristol City, we saw a further example of that pathway in operation.
Northamptonshire born striker Ethan Johnston became the second player from the club's education programme to play for the first team when he came on as a 56th minute substitute in the Carabao Cup second round tie at Bristol City. He follows in the footsteps of Scott Pollock who made his first team debut in January 2019.
Johnston moved from the education programme in to the academy, and he is the 11th academy product to appear for the first team in less than two years under Keith Curle, with a total of 110 first team appearances amongst those players.
He is also the third different current or former academy player to play for the first team this season, after Morgan Roberts and Caleb Chukwuemeka, who made his full debut at Ashton Gate, with injuries having prevented Pollock and Shaun McWilliams from appearing so far.
For Johnston, it was a proud night. "Making my debut is what I have been working towards and to do so at such a fantastic stadium was great," he said.
"Once I got on the pitch the nerves went away and I settled in to things.
"I just tried my best and hopefully I did OK. I really enjoyed it and it was great to be out there with a number of other young players.
"The manager is great with us, he really believes in the young players and he gives us opportunities which is what you are desperate for as a young player.
"When I left school, I did my first year with the club's education programme. I progressed from there in to the academy and then earned a professional contract and then made my debut on Wednesday night. It has been a fantastic few years for me. The education programme was a fantastic platform for me."
Manager Keith Curle added: "Wednesday night was a fantastic learning opportunity for the young players in our squad.
"They are part of our squad and this is their pathway. When you get an opportunity, go and take that opportunity.
"Caleb showed some nice touches, Ethan won a few headers against Championship defenders and almost had a chance with a cross from Morgan Roberts and there were positives to take from all of their performances.
"The player pathway is very much open at this club. We have shown we can develop players, both individually and as a group and that is what we will continue to do to help the club continue on its upward curve."