Wes Fletcher could be a Burnley FC star!

BRIAN Laws believes striker Wes Fletcher has the potential to join Jay Rodriguez in the first team - and save him a lot of money in the process!

The 20-year-old has five goals for the reserve team so far this season, helping the Clarets top the totesport.com Reserve Division West table.

The Merseysider’s progress has not gone unnoticed, and Laws feels he could have a natural born goalscorer on his hands.

Rodriguez - like Richard Chaplow, Kyle Lafferty and Chris McCann before him - has shown the Turf Moor youth system is alive and kicking, and Laws is a firm believer that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.

He said of Fletcher: “Wes impressed me in pre-season, hence my thoughts on including him in the squad over the summer, and he did really well with us.

“He’s strong, he’s worked extremely hard on the physical side of things, and he’s got an eye for goal.

“He’s a very quiet lad - he’s like a Mark Hughes, quiet off the pitch, but not on it - but he’s getting on with it and he’s impressed us all.”

Fletcher has been inspired by Rodriguez’s fortunes this season, earning his longest run in the side, and Laws added: “Is he another Jay? Let’s hope so, he’s got the potential to be, he’s very quick as well, and people don’t realise how quick he is.

“We have high hopes for him, but there’s still a long way to go yet.

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“When he trains with the first team, it doesn’t faze him, and there’s some strong characters.

“Natural goalscorers are a rarity, and if you’ve got one, you make sure you look after them.

“Hopefully he’ll be one of those rough diamonds and that’s a great flag to fly, that the conveyor belt is starting to move again.

“I’m never afraid of putting young players in, I’ve always believed if they are right, if they are good, let’s have a look.

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“I’d rather do that than buy someone in and overlook them.”

Fletcher himself just wants to keep finding the net for the reserves, and hopefully he will get a chance to shine: “I’ve got five goals now, but I’d like to get a few more.

“I went away to Singapore with the first team, and it was good to get picked, and I managed to come on as a sub at Morecambe.

“It would be great to be training permanently with the first team, because I’ve been in and out really.

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“That’s the main aim.

“Hopefully if I keep scoring goals, the gaffer will have a look.

“Jay’s the perfect example.

“He’s starting every game now, and hopefully I can follow in his footsteps and even play up there with him.

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“I’ve just got to keep going, get stronger and keep working on everything.

“Last year we didn’t really get a chance, we trained on our own, the five of us, so this year has given us more of a chance.

“Everyone has been up to the first team pitch training with them.

“The gaffer and all the staff and great with the lads, they tell you to keep going, keep plugging away, and keep doing what you’re doing.”

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Laws spoke last week of his desire to get Kevin McDonald out on loan to get him some first team games, and he would like to give some of the younger professionals some experience in the Football League - although he won’t just farm them out to any old club.

Fletcher spent time at Laws’ former club Grimsby in League 2 last term, netting against Rotherham for his first league goal, and Laws said: “The one thing we want to make sure is with the development side of the players.

“They are doing really well and I’ve had enquiries from a few non-leage sides and lower league sides for our players, but I think they’re better than that, and I don’t want our players to be feeling we’re just going to shove them out anywhere, what we want to do is, yes, get them some games, but a quality of games that will improve them as players.

“I don’t need to send them out to make him a man, or to get them stronger, they are good players and, any knock on the door, we’re not just going to say, ‘yeah, you’re going there’, because I don’t think that would be right for their development.

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“We’re prepared to let them go out on loan, but it has to be to the right club.