New Wealdstone signing aims to plug gap in forward line
PUBLISHED: 12:08 16 July 2015 | UPDATED: 12:08 16 July 2015
Josh Hutchinson has pledged to fill the void left in Wealdstone’s front line by Jefferson Louis’ ban come the start of the Conference South season.
Hutchinson became boss Gordon Bartlett’s latest punt on a diamond in the rough this summer following his 32 league goals for Potters Bar in the Southern League Central last season.
The youngster’s first go at this level did not go to plan as he was restricted to substitute appearances when at Billericay Town.
However, with first choice Louis having to sit out the first three games for a violent conduct ban received at the back end of the last campaign, Hutchinson is determined to seize his chance to fill the vacancy at Bath on August 8 and then keep it – permanently.
He told the Times: “I’m aware of Jefferson’s suspension, so I think there is a shirt up for grabs there for the first three games.
“I’ll definitely be fighting for my spot. I believe I can earn it and keep it the rest of the season as best I can.”
Hutchinson’s earliest memories in football revolved around fulfilling every schoolboy’s dream of playing up front and banging in the goals.
His early teens, spent at Cheshunt High School, saw him dabble with life as a winger before a stint in central midfield.
But by the start of his adult football life at Cheshunt he was up front once more, becoming the club’s leading goalscorer in the season he turned 18.
No wonder, then, that the electrician’s apprentice sees sparking up his team’s attack as his destiny.
“I think of being a forward as my calling,” said Hutchinson. “There was no real lightbulb moment, where I thought ‘my God, I could be really good at this’.
“I’ve always scored goals. I’m lively up top and I’ve always fancied myself as a forward even when I was playing central midfield as a youngster. I like to think of myself as a good finisher.”
Imagine, then, Hutchinson’s frustration at missing a glorious chance from off the bench to snatch a late leveller in Saturday’s pre-season friendly with League Two outfit Stevenage.
Put through by a pass over the top, the youngster failed to get right over the top of a high-bouncing ball and therefore just cleared the crossbar in a game the Stones lost 1-0.
“It came over the defender’s head and although he got a nick on it, the ball had beaten him, so I’ve got in behind them and I’ve gone to hook it across when really I should have got over it slightly more,” he reflected.
“It was an awkward height but if I’d let it drop for a split second longer I could have controlled it a bit better and kept the shot low. So I’m disappointed, but everything is a progression for the next time.”
By a quirk of fate, the friendly pitched Hutchinson on the opposite side to another of Potters Bar’s graduates Tom Pett, whose career path took him to the professional ranks via Wealdstone.
As if his reputation as a goal-scorer did not already put him under the microscope enough, his former chairman with the Scholars, Mark Martyn, sent him on his way by predicting he would follow in Pett’s footsteps in achieving his dream of a professional contract.
Hutchinson, it seems, puts sufficient pressure on himself to be able to welcome the opinions of others.
He added: “I’m going to try my best anyway to become a Football League player and if people believe in me along the way then why not have that pressure on top?”
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