CHELMSFORD City boss Glenn Pennyfather has challenged young defender Bradley Hamilton to step into the shoes of departed right-back Richard Brindley by proving himself worthy of a place in the Football League, claiming "there's a shirt there if you earn it" ahead of the Clarets' game at Truro City on Saturday.
Brindley, released by Premier League club Norwich City in the summer, turned his career around with some excellent displays in a Chelmsford jersey which persuaded Chesterfield to offer him another attempt at full time football last week.
That left a space available for someone to capitalise on, and Pennyfather believes Colchester United's recent prospect Hamilton is qualified to step up if he focusses on helping the Clarets to climb the table.
"When Richard first came to the club we knew he had a bright future, and his performance levels were excellent while he was with us, even when we knew a move was on the cards," explained Pennyfather as he prepares his side to face the division's bottom club.
"Some young lads have their dreams shattered at a pro club but it's how you react which shows what sort of man you are. It's great to see Richard take that second path.
"He always said he'd never leave unless it was for a professional club and he was true to his word because he was appreciative of what we were able to do for him.
"Now it's up to players like Bradley to show that they're made of the same stuff. He's a natural right-back and now there's an opportunity for him too.
"He proved what he's capable of when he came on at Halifax and he can consider himself unlucky not to still be at Colchester."
"Bradley was a victim of circumstance, and that's been of benefit to us. He's a very good player and from here it's all about learning his trade in a more mature environment.
"I've got no problems at all with him lining-up in my team. If he can nail down a regular place it will be a huge lift for him, and great for his development"
Truro are in 22nd position but their recent record suggests they can easily compete with teams at the other end of the table, suffering late 4-3 defeats to first and second placed Salisbury City and Welling United.
They also caused the Clarets a fright at Melbourne Stadium in the reverse fixture as they narrowly lost 3-2. City have no injuries or suspensions, and they'll stay in Truro on Friday night after travelling up during the afternoon.
"An overnight stay was the only option, and it'll be good for team bonding, but the bottom line is that we've got to get a result," Glenn said. "Truro are a decent side who've been very unlucky this season.
"We know from our home game against them that they'll be no pushovers and what they've been through together will have made them stronger. We're both back off the enforced 'winter break' and we're looking forward to the game."