DOUGIE Freedman believes getting Wanderers’ young players into the development squad at an earlier age is key to their elevation to the first-team ranks.

After blooding Chris Lester and Andy Kellett into his first-team ranks and handing a full debut to Hayden White, the Wanderers boss has stressed to his young stars that he will not be handing out appearances randomly.

Georg Iliev, Oscar Threlkeld and Andy Robinson have also been in and around the senior side of late and could get their chance in the final two games of the season.

But Freedman has already got his eye on the next wave of young talent heading towards the first team.

“The club want to go in the direction I believe in, that’s great, but first of all they have to be good enough to play,” he said.

“I’m not putting players in just so I can point to them and say ‘hey, I played some youngsters’. I wouldn’t do that to them.

“We need to make sure our youngsters get into the under-21s a lot younger.

“In this day and age, at 17-18 years old you know whether a player is ready for the first team.

“Our youngsters (on Tuesday night) were 19-20, so I think we need to progress those younger players a little bit quicker.

“We’ll see how they go – sometimes they surprise you, sometimes it’s too much for them but I thought against Leicester it was a good game for them.

“There was no pressure and I don’t think they let themselves down at all.”