One of the four scholars to earn a professional contract, defender Lewis Coulton was full of praise for those who have helped him get to this stage.
The 18-year-old, who has represented Scotland at youth international level, joined the club at 11-years-old and has worked with a number of coaching staff over the last seven years and he says he is grateful to all of them for their support and advice.
Speaking to iFollow PNE he said: “I have been a scholar for two years, but I have been at the club since I was 11-years-old and it started from there. You have to train hard and work hard every day and that’s how you get to here.
“It has taken a lot of hard work and I have to thank the coaches that have been at the club, they have helped me throughout and that’s how you get the opportunity.
“They are a top set of coaches. From U11s through to U16s, you have a different coach every year and then for the last two years I have had the same coaches and I can’t thank them enough. As an individual and as a team you learn different things every day, which has helped me.”
He also says that the support of his team-mates will be a big thing in making the next step and is grateful to be part of a quartet who can now learn from the new coaching team, having worked with Paul Gallagher already.
“Four of us is quite a lot,” he continued. “Last year there was only Ethan Walker, so for four of us it really helps; you have lads your age you can speak to. The older lads are great and they speak to you, but to have players your age, it makes you feel a bit more comfortable.
“A few of us have been involved in matchday squads this year and that is a big help. It means we have been around the lads already and you know what it is like. I am not coming in, signing my professional contract not knowing what is happening, I already know the structure of things, which really helps.
“Gally is a person who helps you a lot. He has been here for a long time and he knows the place the best and is a big help for all of us.”
Like all the new scholars, Lewis is a local lad and he believes that this gives him an extra motivation to succeed and he will be working hard in the off-season, to be ready to keep progressing come July.
“We know that the fans want and that they like local lads when they come through. We are all very local lads and we know what the club is about and it will be a big thing if we can make that step up and make our debut. The fans will be very proud if we can do that.
“I want to hit the ground running in July. It is not really a time to be off, we still have to work hard and carry on working – it won’t really stop for me, I just have to carry on with my individual plan,” he added.