Luton Town’s teenage goalkeeper Liam Gooch has joined neighbours Hitchin Town on a one-month youth loan.
The Stotfold-based keeper, who turns 19 next Friday, is set to make his debut in competitive senior football for the Canaries in their Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division game against Kettering Town tomorrow.
Gooch starred in last season’s Under-18s team that reached the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals and won the Football League Youth Alliance league and cup double.
Having signed his first professional contract in June, Gooch featured as a second-half substitute in three senior pre-season friendlies and has played in youth games this term and alternated with 20-year-old Craig King in development matches while being selected on the bench for Checkatrade Trophy ties.
Town goalkeeper coach Kevin Dearden hopes the young stopper can benefit from game time at a Step 3 club in the same way that King did at the same age last season, when he spent time on loan at Ryman Premier club Met Police and National League South side Bishop’s Stortford.
“Liam’s played in development games having come from the youth team, and men’s football is the next step,” said Dearden.
“Hitchin is a good club. We’ve got a good relationship with them through the football club and with Mark Burke, their manager, and this is the next step of his progression. Hopefully he’ll go there and do well.
“It’s tough for a first-year pro, but our aim has always been to try and get him out into men’s football because it stood Kingy in good stead with Met Police and Stortford. It’s good for their development.”