SIX PLAYERS TO FOLLOW

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The Independent Online
Ian Bennett (Birmingham)

Barry Fry hyped Liam Daish, his captain and central defender, up to pounds 3m in the summer but this young goalkeeper is equally impressive. Maintained his form throughout an eventful season in which he shone against Liverpool, was allegedly approached to `throw' a game (he reported it), and suffered a car crash.

Ben Thatcher (Millwall)

Still 19 but already regarded as the next alumnus of Millwall's talent school. The club has raised pounds 6.6m in the last year from selling the likes of Mark Kennedy and Thatcher has already been watched by Manchester United. A strong full-back who rates Stuart Pearce as a major influence.

Kevin Davies (Chesterfield)

Several of the big Premiership clubs are keeping close watch on this young striker. Though only 18 he has already played 65 league games and was a regular in both Chesterfield's promotion side and England's Under-18 team last season.

Andy Booth (Huddersfield)

Rangy goalscorer whose career has taken off since his medication (he is an asthma sufferer) was adjusted a year ago. Local-born 21-year- old who shows no inclination to play for anyone except his hometown club. Financial reality may make that desire untenable but it is still a refreshing outlook.

Gary Croft (Grimsby)

Not since the days of Kevin Drinkell and Paul Wilkinson has Blundell Park had so many promising young players. Peter Handysides and Kevin Jobling are two of them but Croft is the rising star. Versatile player who has settled at left-back and won Under-21 international recognition. Shares the same agent as Brian Lara.

Leo Fortune-West (Gillingham)

Greenwich University student plucked from Stevenage Borough for pounds 5,000 raised by fans. Gangling target man who has already proved a handful for Ruud Gullit. Previous non-League players discovered by Gillingham include Tony Cascarino and Brentford's Nick Forster.

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