THIS time last year Tom Denton was preparing for a District League campaign with Wooldale Wanderers.
Twelve months on, the Shepley teenager is aiming to make his mark on the League I stage with boyhood favourites Town.
It’s a remarkable rise for the 19-year-old striker who has been branded the ‘new Peter Crouch’ and yesterday signed a three-year contract at the Galpharm.
And if things go as well as Ronnie Glavin believes they could, his story could rival that of Roy of the Rovers.
Wakefield manager Glavin (inset), whose club could make a six-figure fee depending on the player’s progress, pitched Denton into UniBond League North action early this year after spotting him playing for their Under 19 side.
And he was rewarded with a string of goals from the 6ft 5in frontman, who also plays Drakes Huddersfield League cricket for Shepley.
It was no surprise to Glavin when the big clubs came calling, and the ace prospect nicknamed Denzil had offers from both Blackburn Rovers and Crystal Palace on the table.
But his love of Town proved stronger than the lure of the Premier League and Championship.
And the highly experienced Glavin, who was a star player for Celtic and Barnsley and took the original Emley (now Wakefield) to the third round of the FA Cup and the brink of the Conference, believes he has made a good decision.
“Blackburn and Palace were both keen, and both are obviously good clubs.” said the Glaswegian, who returned to Wakefield last season after stints at Barnsley and Worksop.
“But Town are on his doorstep, they are a club he loves, and in terms of teaching him the game, I can’t think of anyone better than Stan Ternent and Ronnie Jepson.
“Stan knows football inside out and Ronnie was a very good frontman himself, and I know they will spend a lot of time with Denzil.”
Glavin has already put in the hours on the training field, but says the player himself deserves the credit for his eagerness to learn.
“Denzil wants to get better and better and he’s a good learner. Many a time we’ve been out on the training pitch well after 10 o’clock at night,” said Glavin.
Of Denton’s attributes, the Glaswegian explained: “He’s obviously got height on his side, and therefore aerial ability, but it’s not solely down to his size.
“Denzil has that inbuilt ability to get into the right positions, and he has bravery, and you can’t teach either of those things.
“Like Peter Crouch, he’s not going to be a twinkle-toed forward who dribbles the ball into the net.
“But if you play to his strengths and provide him with the right kind of service, I believe he’ll get goals at whatever level he’s playing at.”
Glavin believes Town’s supporters have a big role to play in Denton’s development.
“He will obviously have to go through a period of transition as he gets to know people at the club and adjusts to full-time training,” he explained.
“He can be a bit ungainly looking, but when you see him in the box, you realise what a dangerman he is, and I think he could become a real cult hero at the Galpharm.
“He certainly loves the club. When we first went to the Galpharm to talk to Stan Ternent, he spotted a picture of Andy Booth and immediately told me which match is was and started reeling off details of his greatest goals.
“And he was down watching the Carling Cup match against Bradford and full of the fact that Town had won 4-0!”