Skipper has every faith that Andre can make the step up...
Andre Boucaud has what it takes to make a name for himself in League 1, says Neal Bishop.
Ahead of this Saturday’s npower League 1 opener with Crewe Alexandra, Boucaud told the Official Site about his desire to return to the Football League with a bang, having spent recent years in the Blue Square Bet Premier.
Notts’ longest serving player, Bishop, has seen plenty of players come and go during his first three seasons at Meadow Lane but is anticipating the toughest battle for places yet in 2012.13.
During the summer first team manager Keith Curle has added three central midfielders to the Meadow Lane ranks, in addition to extending Gavin Mahon’s contract.
Boucaud, who is on loan from Luton Town until January, has impressed Bishop in both training and the pre-season matches.
“It’s great that we’ve taken a chance on him and I think it can pays dividends,” said the skipper.
“If you put the time in and go to watch these lower league games on a horrible Tuesday night in December, there’s some good players down there.
“Hopefully he’s one of them and we’ve picked a diamond out of the lower leagues, and I’m sure given time that he couldn’t have a better player to learn from than Gavin Mahon and I’m sure he’ll reap the benefits.”
He added: “Anyone that’s seen him play can see that he’s a similar player to Gav, he sits in that deep role and wants to get on the ball and spread it to start off attacks.
“I think Gav’s perfect for him, he can learn off someone like him, as he’s played at the top level, he’s a great pro and he’s still a top player now.
“You can see the difference when he plays and what he brings to the team and with Andre playing in a similar role to Gav can only benefit him.
“Having seen him in training over recent weeks I can see what a good player he is and what a benefit he’s going to be to this squad.”
Bishop was plucked from the non-league scene when Barnet took him from York City in 2007.
The 31-year-old has since gone on to prove himself as one of the best midfielders in League 2 and, more recently, League 1.
“There were players better than me at York when I was there but they didn’t get the chance,” he continued.
“I think I made my Football League debut at about 24 or 25 and it’s one of those things, scouts don’t want to come down and watch the lower leagues.
“Some managers have got tendencies to look at players and what they’ve done in the past, where they’ve been and not what they’ve done on the pitch.
“They see names and think ‘oh, he’s been this place and that place’ but they don’t actually look what’s actually been done on the pitch in the last two or three years.
“That’s wrong in my opinion and I’ve always thought that.
“If you can pick out these players from non-league who have got a point to prove, they’re hungry and they want to do well, for me that’s the way forward.
“If you look at all the players that have come in, they’re all players that are hungry and want to go on to a higher level.
“That’s the way I’d go about it and judging by the players that the gaffer’s signed I think he shares the same opinion.”
Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets for this Saturday’s match from Meadow Lane. Full ticket details can be found by clicking here.
Full pre and post-match coverage, and live audio commentary, will be available on Magpie Player.