Cobblers boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has outlined his reasons for allowing young strikers Leon Lobjoit and Joe Iaciofano to leave the club on loan deals.
Lobjoit has joined Corby Town while teenager Iaciofano has signed for Chesham United, with both players making their debuts for their new clubs in midweek.
Iaciofano scored for Chesham as they claimed a 3-1 win over Stratford Town, while Lobjoit laid on a goal for former Cobblers man Sam Warburton in the Steelmen’s 2-1 loss at Chasetown.
In a week where Hasselbaink has been left short of striking options due to a hamstring injury suffered by Chris Long, some supporters have questioned the wisdom of allowing Lobjoit and Iaciofano to leave the club on month-long loan arrangements.
But Hasselbaink, who knows all there is to know about playing up front, insists it is the right move for both players in terms of gaining confidence, and also in terms of getting used to the physicality of the men’s game.
“They need to play football,” said the Cobblers boss. “They need to play men’s football, and then you see how they come back and how they are, and then assess them again.
“But they both need football, and Joe scored on Tuesday, Leon gave an assist, and that will boost their confidence.
“They also need to be knocked about a little bit, and that is how it is.
“They need to be knocked about a little bit so they understand, and then see how they come back, and if they then make steps forward. It is a good thing for them.”
Eyebrows were also raised at the standard of football the players have been loaned into, with Chesham playing at the same level as Kettering Town in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier, and the Steelman playing a level down in the Evo-Stik Northern League First Division South.
Hasselbaink admits the standard may be ‘a little bit low’ for the pair, but it means they both have a chance to really make a mark.
“The levels they are playing at might be a little bit low for now, but it is to show what they can do,” said the former Chelsea, Leeds United and Netherlands striker.
“Then in the future they can maybe make the next step, and I think that is the idea behind it.”