THE fearless approach of Jayke Welch is precisely the one that Witham Town manager Mark Ashford is hoping to see from young players being given their opportunity to shine in his team.

Witham have been putting considerable trust in youthful players this year and Welch is the latest to step up for them.

The 19-year-old former Braintree Town Academy player came on as a second-half substitute in the 1-0 Bostik League division north defeat by Canvey Island last weekend and Ashford was impressed by how he grabbed his chance.

The Town boss said: "We are a club and I'm a manager who trust young players and we will continue to do that.

"Jayke Welch came on for his first ever senior game against Canvey and he looked confident in possession and was making things happen. "We want people to be brave in possession and he did just that.

"He is only 19 and he grabbed the bull by the horns.

"I thought he looked every inch a step four footballer and in his 30 minutes on the pitch, he was involved in about eight chances.

"He made a huge difference for us."

Ashford said he was particularly pleased that Welch had a fearless approach to being on the big stage and said that was precisely the attitude that players needed to have.

He added: "What I really liked was that Jayke wasn't bothered about making mistakes and he just had a very positive influence on us.

"That's what we want from all our players; we don't want them to be afraid of mistakes.

"We want them to embrace the opportunity of playing for us. "Some players feel safe sitting in under-23 sides, or in reserves and at lower levels, but we are giving them a chance to be here and play senior step four football.

"And it's not just token appearances. "We are playing players in a situation where we're not safe yet from relegation. "Some clubs have one or two young players and may put them in for a minor cup competition but we are putting them into the heart of a relegation battle.

"I expect them to make mistakes and they will get punished sometimes like Jack Lelliott did at Sudbury, but they will be much better for the experience, I guarantee that.

"That's something they will only get if they are given the opportunity when there is something riding on the result.

"I'm proud that we, as a club, are doing that and I hope the players are grateful for the opportunity.

"Other clubs may have one or two in their squad and as soon as things don't go their way, out come the youngsters, but we are trusting them and keep trusting them."