By Sam Elliott
Reading and Burton Albion target Nathan Ferguson has been told that he should see out the season at Non-League Grays Athletic.
The Premier League-chasing Royals and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s League One leaders are two of the clubs looking to sign the 19-year-old holding midfielder.
Ryman Premier Grays have a rich history of fast-tracking players to the top in their Conference days, with Michael Kightly, Aaron McLean and Gary Hooper just a few of their former stars to go on and enjoy fantastic careers.
The club’s striker Dumebi Dumaka has also been linked with West Ham, but both players have been told it would be better for their progress if they stayed put until they are ready for the first team.
Grays manager Mark Bentley told The FLP that Ferguson should learn from his mistakes and focus on his football after himself becoming side-tracked by transfer talk.
“I had a similar level of discussion about me when I was coming through at Aldershot as a kid,” the ex-Southend and Gillingham midfielder explained. “Clubs similar in status to the ones they are saying want Nathan and DD, too. My story should serve as a warning really. It didn’t happen for me as I let people get into my head and started to believe the hype.
“Agents were knocking on my door promising it all – what I should have been doing is getting my head down and working every hour of the day, but I let it distract me.
“It plays on your mind, so my advice is to trust the people you are with and focus only on your next game of football. They are both playing first team football and should keep doing that here and let nature take its course. Sitting in U21 sides is not what they need.”
However, the prospect of playing for Premier League legend Hasselbaink would occupy most minds and the Burton Albion boss confirmed his intention to sign Ferguson.