MARK Cooper feels that the imminent transfer of young defender Dan Burn to Fulham will give all of Darlington’s Academy players motivation moving forward.
The Quakers travel to relegated Histon tonight but much of the focus over the last few days has been on the future of 18-year-old Burn, who looks set to move to Craven Cottage in the summer.
The impressive youngster has made ten appearances but looks set to miss out again tonight as a top flight transfer is thrashed out. Everton are interested in him but it looks as if Fulham and Mark Hughes have stolen a march on the Toffees.
A deal is yet to be done but Cooper admits that Burn’s departure is imminent. While a blow to his efforts to lead the club out of the Conference next year, it is also a timely fillip for the youth team and their supremo Craig Liddle.
Confirming Burn’s exit, Cooper said: “There are numerous clubs that are interested in Dan Burn, as far as I'm aware there's nothing been signed.
“Whoever comes up with the money will get the player at the end of the season.
“He's been down to Fulham, they're very keen on him.” The money will be useful to Darlington but having a player move into the top flight also helps the Quakers sell themselves to potential young recruits.
Striker John Campbell impressed on Saturday and he is not alone in breaking through the ranks at Neasham Road.
Phil Gray is another who is tipped for big things and that has drawn praise from boss Cooper.
He said: “We spoke about Craig Liddle and the young boys he's bringing through and there's more of them to come.
“What is does do is give the younger lads the belief that if they are good enough they're going to get a chance in the team."
Cooper will be looking for improvement at Histon despite a 3-1 win over Bath City on Saturday.
While a good result, there were elements of the game that left Cooper dissatisfied and he admits that inconsistency has been their undoing this year. A summer clear-out of underachievers seems inevitable.
“In spells this season we've done well and we've got to the Trophy final, but you're judged on your league form and we've not been good enough,” he said.
“We've had too many draws, there weren't enough wins, because we were weak mentally. It's very frustrating but I can't do anything about it until the end of the season.”