Following the appointment of Glenn as manager, Chris was promoted to first team coach to work with John Gorman, leaving Theo Foley in sole charge of the reserves.
But while the side he left behind was largely made up of Academy players, Chris was able to impart his wisdom to players he knew very well indeed.
Stephen Clemence, Luke Young, Gary Doherty, Tony Gardner, Alton Thelwell, Simon Davies, Willem Korsten and Matthew Etherington all featured in Chris’ second string during the course of the campaign, while John Piercy, Steven Ferguson and Ian Hillier were also added to the first team group during the closing weeks of the campaign.
So was Chris’ knowledge of the young players an advantage for the new management team?
“Very much so,” confirmed Chris. “With me starting the job with Glenn and John at that stage of the season it gave the manager the chance to work with players that I know and know well. It’s an exciting time to have that sort of involvement.”
Injuries forced Glenn’s hand on arrival at the club and he had no option other than to blood players earlier than he might have liked. Chris sees the positives in this and feels the younger fringe players will have felt the benefit.
“As we saw with the injuries we had over the last few games, it was a good opportunity for some of the younger players to get experience — as shown with Anthony Gardner playing very well - Simon Davies, Alton Thelwell have all come on and got experience.
“It gave them the experience of playing games, and there is no better experience than that. But, also, it has given the lads the opportunity to train with the first team group. Also it was an opportunity for the new management to look at these players.
“I think what would have happened without the amount of injuries that we had. In effect there would have been two groups — first team and reserves. Of course the new manager’s priority would have been to focus on the first team group, and if it wasn’t for injuries there would have been some reserve team players that he wouldn’t have seen a lot of, possibly.
“The fact that we had all the injuries gave him the opportunity to have a look at the reserve team group.”
Chris Hughton admits that his role-switch towards the end of last season did not bring with it very much of a culture change. After all most of the first team squad graduated from his reserve side.