Dundee United boss Micky Mellon keeps a close eye on Tangerines loan stars
Dundee United boss Micky Mellon has revealed he is keeping a close watch on Loan Terrors Bairns Lewis Neilson and Kai Fotheringham.
The young duo are impressive at League One Falkirk, with Fotheringham scoring their first professional goal in a 2-1 Scottish Cup win over Arbroath last week.
Getting minutes under their belt is part of the plan to mandarins, others like Chris Mochrie in Montrose, Kieran Freeman in Peterhead and Ross Graham in Cove Rangers are also being watched.
Mellon insists his grown children weren’t put on the pasture, but saved precious first-team minutes to get back to Tannadice and make an impact.
“All the staff keep going out and watching them and these loans are a sight to experiment and bring them together and prepare them more for our first team,” he said.
“They won’t improve if they don’t play games.
“We have to get them out on the pitch to see what they’re capable of or not.
“Once the games are over, we can look at things and what they can do and what they can improve.
“You need these games as a test to get the boys going. It’s about finding the right balance.
“We could have kept Lewis here and he would have played roles or maybe more, but we just didn’t know.
“What we knew was that by going to Falkirk he would get first team football.
“I went to watch him and Kai last week. Kai scored a great goal and they both have playing time and are doing well.
“We’re watching all the guys, whether they’re in Cove Rangers or in Peterhead.
“Part of the strategy is that they keep improving.”
Tangerines kids need to be ready for Mellon to throw them in the first team mix
The Terrors have fielded many academy graduates this season, including the aforementioned and the likes of Kerr Smith and Darren Watson.
Gaffer Mellon believes there is more to come, but only when they’re ready to step into the better team’s locker room.
“The number doesn’t matter,” he added.
“The most important things are that we give them a chance and we want to have a steady flow in the first team, but they also have to be good enough to give us a chance to win games.
“We didn’t just give young boys time to catch up.
“They are now part of our squad and the match day squad because we believe they will give us a chance to win games.
“It’s great for them and for us we have been able to tap into our academy.
“This is something that we are working very hard on as a club and the president asks us a lot to try to do it.
“We will continue to develop them.”
‘We have to make them consistent because Dundee United fans demand the team to win games’
Mellon says he’s looking for consistent performers if one of the kids is to step into his starting XI and become a regular at his plans.
The path is here, with Jamie Robson, Louis Appere and Logan Chalmers all first team matches.
However, Mellon knows the weight of expectations at the club and says that any player entering this environment must be prepared to face it.
He continued, “We are working hard to prepare them. I’m not just talking lip service.
“We want to attract as many young people as possible, but there will always be a but with that.
“We have to make them consistent because Dundee United fans demand the team to win games.
“It’s good to put the young people in but they have to be ready to play.”