IT may have been a few days now since Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars were sacked from the top job at City, but they did leave a legacy in their five months in charge.

Whether that be giving chances to youngsters, kick-starting the City careers of those who had been struggling or simply taking already top-quality players to the next level, many are indebted to what the young pair did for them.

Discounting January incomings like Andy Cook, who finished the season as City's top scorer, here are five players who enhanced their City reputation under Trueman and Sellars.


City fans have long appreciated the young Irishman's potential, but O'Connor swept the board at City's end of season awards.

He was in and out of the team last season, and a three game ban in August for an alleged headbutt against Forest Green got this term off to a rocky start.

O'Connor was by no means at fault when he returned from suspension, but in the 10 games leading up to Stuart McCall's sacking, City kept just one clean sheet with O'Connor a regular in the backline.

But there were four clean sheets in City's first six under Trueman and Sellars, and even when Niall Canavan joined in January, there were no thoughts of O'Connor being displaced at the heart of defence.

And with Richard O'Donnell out injured at the turn of the year, O'Connor had the honour of being named captain, despite there being past captains and more experienced players in the camp.

He did such a good job as skipper, many felt he should have kept the armband even when O'Donnell returned.

Still only 23, City could do a lot worse than build their defence around him under the new manager.


Cooke has openly admitted in the past that he found it a tense atmosphere when he walked through the door at City for the first time back in back in 2019, just after the club had been relegated.

But many players pointed to a more harmonious dressing room this time around, something the affable north-easterner seemed to relish.

He had an indifferent back end to the previous season and though he was a regular starter under Stuart McCall, it seemed nobody was certain of the best position for him in City's midfield.

But with Trueman and Sellars adopting a 4-2-3-1 for the most part, Cooke began to excel in the middle of that three, in an attacking number 10 role.

He was City's standout player in their brilliant six-week spell from the end of January to the start of March, as the club won seven games in eight to fly up the table.

It was no coincidence that when Cooke picked up his hip injury down in Wales on March 9 that City's collapse began.

By the time he returned in late April, City's play-off dream was all but over, showing just how important he was to that team.


Sutton was brought in over the summer, but was unable to start the season as he was serving a ban.

And in just his third league game for City, he was sent off for a poor lunging challenge against Barrow.

It all meant he only made four starts under Stuart McCall, with Cooke, Harry Pritchard and Elliot Watt the preferred midfield three.

But Trueman and Sellars showed their faith in the 24-year-old by immediately throwing him into the starting line up in their first game, away at Crawley.

Sutton formed a brilliant defensive midfield partnership with Watt, and became a regular fixture in the side, as well as grabbing glorious goals in the narrow away wins over Grimsby and Walsall.

He was playing 90 minutes in almost every game, and performing at a high level despite the punishing schedule, with only a late-season knock bringing to an end his long run of starts.

City may have let a lot of players go in the week, but that central midfield group of Watt, Sutton and Cooke is surely one of the best in League Two?


Hornby knew his role going into this season, he was to be understudy to club captain Richard O'Donnell, with his starts likely to be limited to the Football League Trophy.

But O'Donnell's torn thigh ruled him out for a lengthy period of time after the Boxing Day win at Tranmere, and all of sudden, Hornby was in the spotlight.

Many fans were understandably worried that their bright start under Trueman and Sellars could be derailed by that, but Hornby allayed any initial fears by keeping a clean sheet in his first game against Port Vale.

And there were further clean sheets to follow against Cambridge, Cheltenham, Leyton Orient and Mansfield, with many so impressed that they wanted the 26-year-old to stay in the team even after O'Donnell's return.

He did initially, but a tough afternoon in the 3-1 defeat at Carlisle saw him spend eight games on the bench.

But his head never went down and he played all of the last five games in place of the club captain.

Under Trueman and Sellars, he has gone from understudy to a genuine contender for the number one jersey.


Stuart McCall was never afraid to give youth a chance, with Reece Staunton a regular in the side before a hamstring tear in November ruled him out for the rest of the season.

Another young talent who stood out early on in the season was Leeds loanee Bryce Hosannah at wing-back, meaning Cousin-Dawson did not get much of a look in, bar a couple of starts in the defeats to Barrow and Bolton.

But Trueman and Sellars knew the teenager well from their time with the youth team and with Hosannah picking up a season-ending injury in McCall's last game, a defeat to Oldham, Cousin-Dawson was thrown straight in from the start at Crawley.

At one point, he helped City keep three clean sheets in a row, and was able to keep his place in the team even when the experienced Niall Canavan signed from Plymouth.

He only lost his starting berth after struggling in the 3-2 defeat at Exeter at the start of February, but did not give up, and regained his spot in the 2-1 victory at Colchester, the first of three wins in four.

He went on to start nine of the last 11 games.

Let's not forget either, while playing under Trueman and Sellars, he earned his first call up to the Northern Ireland Under-21s and signed a new three-and-a-half year contract.

Not a bad first season in senior football.